When should we feed our babies solids?

[vc_row type=”full_width_background” full_screen_row_position=”middle” bg_color=”#ffffff” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” bottom_padding=”10%” overlay_strength=”1″ shape_divider_position=”bottom”][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/1″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][vc_row_inner column_margin=”default” text_align=”left”][vc_column_inner enable_animation=”true” animation=”fade-in-from-bottom” column_padding=”padding-3-percent” column_padding_position=”top-bottom” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/12″ column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner enable_animation=”true” animation=”fade-in-from-bottom” column_padding=”padding-3-percent” column_padding_position=”top-bottom” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”10/12″ column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid” delay=”100″][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1539233346136{padding-top: 4% !important;padding-right: 4% !important;padding-bottom: 4% !important;padding-left: 4% !important;}”]Advice on when to feed your baby solids has been bouncing back and forth for decades.

Some say it’s better to leave it later while others say earlier the better. What should we make of all the advice? As parents, all we want to know is what’s best for our children. We take a look at the information out there and what to make of it.

What does the research say?

Studies in the UK and US have been looking at the optimal time to introduce a baby to solid foods.

A clinical trial was conducted that studied whether early introduction of certain foods to a babies diet could reduce allergies and have an impact on growth and sleep.

Gideon Lack, professor of paediatric allergy at King’s College London, and a co-author of the research had this to say, “An added benefit (of early introduction of solids) is that it seems to confer better sleep for the children.”

Differences of opinion in the medical field

Lack and the team of researchers behind the study highlighted that while their findings should encourage the early introduction of solids to a babies diet, there are many confusing sources out there, even medically verified ones. They acknowledge that government suggestions based on research suggest later introduction age than their study does.

Study: Solids from 3 months and 6 months

Professor Lack’s study was extensive. 1300 healthy, breastfed, 3 month old babies were split into two groups. One group introduced solids at around 3 months and the other waited until 6 months. The results showed that, on average, infants that were introduced to solid food from three months slept 2 more hours a week than those introduced at 6 months. It was also found that they woke two times less during the night per week at six months than the babies who were introduced to solids later. Those introduced to foods earlier also had 9% fewer incidents of waking during the night over the course of the whole study.

Why should a parent introduce solids early?

Professor Lack says, “We believe the most likely explanation for our findings of improved sleep is that that these babies are less hungry.” Underpinning this positive effect, Lack explains that solid foods might prevent high amounts of regurgitation in a baby and encourage feelings of being full.

Countering Opinions

Professor Amy Brown of Swansea University, however, doesn’t believe the study has enough weight to push parents to introduce food at 3 months saying, “There is no clear physiological reason why introducing solids foods early would help a baby sleep, especially not for the very small amounts parents were instructed to give in this trial.”

While the debate continues in the medical community, Erin Leichman, a senior research psychologist at St Joseph’s University has wisdom to give, “Results of this study certainly warrant further research on the topic, particularly addressing how long babies continue to breastfeed despite introduction of solids and how parents interact with their babies at bedtime and during the night after a night waking, which can be related to sleep and night wakings.”

In the end, the decision to introduce solids to your baby can and should be a family based matter in collaboration with a trusted medical professional. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/12″ column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Children And Heart Rates

If you believe that your child is in danger, it is vital that you call 000 immediately.

It can be incredibly scary for any parent when they believe that their child has a really high heart rate. There are important factors to know when it comes to the heart, especially for children. The normal heart rates for children, other factors that could affect their heart rates, and when to be concerned, are helpful points of information that can assist you in making the best health decisions for your children.

What Is A Normal Heart Rate?

 

Doctors and studies have shown that children usually have a higher heart rate than adults. A child’s heart rate range is also wider than an adults. Doctors have found that a child’s heart rate can be as low as 60 beats per minute while they are sleeping and reach up to 220 beats per minute in the midst of focused physical activity like a soccer or AFL game.

It is important to note that athletic children will have lower resting heart rates, either in the 40 or 50 beats per minute range.

External Factors

 

When figuring out if your child has a higher than usual heart rate it is helpful to be aware of their physical and mental circumstances.

A child’s heart rate will definitely be higher if they have been at all physically active in the time before you check their heart rate. If they have been running, skipping, playing or moving at all, it would be usual to find that their heart rate is elevated.

A child’s heart rate can also be elevated if they are upset, angry or in a mood.

There are times when having an elevated heart rate makes sense. If your child is fighting a fever, getting over the flu or infection, an elevated heart rate is the body’s way of showing that it’s in fighting mode and working hard to recover.

Energy drinks can drastically drive up the heart rate and so it is important to avoid giving your child access to them.

Warning Signs

 

If you are concerned that your child is currently experiencing too high a heart rate that may lead to a more serious situation here are some signs to look out for:

  1. Shortness of breath (without having done any strenuous activity)
  2. Unable to finish physical activity that they usually do with ease
  3. Heart palpitations
  4. Extreme fatigue
  5. If you child speaks of a ‘racing’ heartbeat
  6. Skipping a beat
  7. If you child speaks of a ‘buzzing, vibrating or fluttering’ in their chest
  8. Fainting
  9. Chest Pain
  10. Skin turning pale or grey, or lips that look blue

Taking A Pulse

 

To determine if the heart rate is in the normal range you can check their pulse immediately.

Many find the easiest place to be on the neck (the carotid artery pulse):

Run your fingers halfway down the neck on either side of the throat. Press gently, you should feel a gentle throbbing, that is the pulse. Time how many pulses you feel in 30 seconds.

If you feel 45 beats in 30 seconds you can double that to know beats per minute, I.e, 90 beats per minute. This is within the normal range of a child’s heart rate, keeping in mind that children have a wide range of normal heart rates.

If you are at all still concerned it is best to take them to a GP for further tests and professional care.

4 Book Series That Will Get You And Your Little One Excited For The Bedtime Read

[vc_row type=”full_width_background” full_screen_row_position=”middle” bg_color=”#ffffff” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” bottom_padding=”10%” overlay_strength=”1″ shape_divider_position=”bottom”][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/1″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][vc_row_inner column_margin=”default” text_align=”left”][vc_column_inner enable_animation=”true” animation=”fade-in-from-bottom” column_padding=”padding-3-percent” column_padding_position=”top-bottom” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/12″ column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner enable_animation=”true” animation=”fade-in-from-bottom” column_padding=”padding-3-percent” column_padding_position=”top-bottom” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”10/12″ column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid” delay=”100″][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1533876379417{padding-top: 4% !important;padding-right: 4% !important;padding-bottom: 4% !important;padding-left: 4% !important;}”]Getting energetic little ones to agree to bedtime can be harder than herding a dragon into the sea for a swim. Downright traumatic sometimes, with all parties ending up in tears. Well. There may be something to be done about that. A trick to getting any little sproutling to do anything is to incentivise the action. While it is advised not to fall into bribery always, a little fun before bed can be the difference between starting on the road to bedtime routine and outright chaos. Here are some exciting books to read before bed that could get your brood scampering into their sheets, pulling up the duvet and doing the happy bed wiggle in preparation for a good story.

  1. The Chronicles Of Narnia By C.S. Lewis

Narnia has it all. Sword fights and kings, talking animals and epic quests. Importantly children are the centre of the story and your little one will likely take to the protagonists and their plight instantly. Thankfully there are 7 books in total so this series can really keep you going while you attempt to establish 7:30pm AS THE OFFICIAL BEDTIME THANK YOU VERY MUCH AND GOODNIGHT! There are breathtaking races against time, hoards of villainous villains, strong female leads and twists that give you a good spin for your money. C.S. Lewis was an academic at Oxford University and his writing is not only engaging and entertaining but rich in lessons of courage, honour love and acceptance. Narnia is a truly great read.

  1. The Secret Seven and The Famous Five By Enid Blyton

Enid Blyton was born in England in 1897 and is the world’s 6th most sold author, and it’s no wonder why. Her books have inspired generations since she was first published in the 1930s. Both book series mentioned above involve a club of boys and girls that seem to always stumble upon a mystery. Through their plucky resolve, community and perseverance they uncover all sorts of dubious schemes and bring to justice those that would seek to do ill. While the language is quaint and from a previous era, the books are engrossing reads, full of humorous dialogue, whodunnit moments and opportunities to try and figure out the twist with the clues as they unfold.

  1. Anything By Roald Dahl

A man for all generations Roald Dahl had a life that has merited it’s own countless adaptations to book and screen. From Charlie and The Chocolate Factory to George’s Marvelous Medicine, Dahl’s books are clever, witty and thought provoking. In creative and hilarious scenes he opens up discussions on greed, selfishness, responsibility and a whole host of elements that humanity can fall into. While many of his books are seen as children’s books they have so much to give every reader regardless of age, background or world view. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/12″ column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Regular Bedtimes Are Essential For Healthy Young Minds

[vc_row type=”full_width_background” full_screen_row_position=”middle” bg_color=”#ffffff” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” bottom_padding=”10%” overlay_strength=”1″ shape_divider_position=”bottom”][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/1″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][vc_row_inner column_margin=”default” text_align=”left”][vc_column_inner enable_animation=”true” animation=”fade-in-from-bottom” column_padding=”padding-3-percent” column_padding_position=”top-bottom” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/12″ column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner enable_animation=”true” animation=”fade-in-from-bottom” column_padding=”padding-3-percent” column_padding_position=”top-bottom” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”10/12″ column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid” delay=”100″][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1533875116350{padding-top: 4% !important;padding-right: 4% !important;padding-bottom: 4% !important;padding-left: 4% !important;}”]It’s a thing folks. Regular and early bedtimes can have really strong beneficial impacts on our children. The same for the opposite applies, two scientific studies found that irregular sleeping routines negatively impacted children, from having behavioural difficulties later in life to lower reading, maths and spatial abilities. Our mums have been right this whole time, early to bed makes a little one healthy, wealthy (perhaps not guaranteed) and wise, or at least manageable in the morning.

The two studies, from England and the USA, respectively, got stuck into the world of sleep, kids and the chasm that can sometimes fall in between.

A Dependable, Consistent Bedtime Routine is Vital For Children’s Sleep

The American study found that a consistent bedtime routine could bring about significant improvement in problematic sleep behaviours for infants and toddlers.

Essentially the study found that when a child was consistently lead through the same bedtime routine there were improvements in:

  • How long it took them to go to sleep (the time taken became less and less)
  • The number of times the child woke up through the night and how long they were awake for in those times
  • Sleep continuity continued to improve over the course of the consistent bedtime routine
  • There was a reduction in the amount of mothers who saw their child’s sleep as problematic
  • This last one is a humdinger for mums, many of the mums stated that the state of their mood greatly improved

Bedtime Needs To Happen At The Same Every Night

The British study found that there were strong links between the consistency of the time that young children went to bed and their cognitive development and success. In light of further research that 7 year olds need 10 to 11 hours sleep, the study encourages parents to set earlier rather than later bedtimes for their children and to stick to them.

The study discovered that at age 7 if girls at 3, 5 or 7 years of age had not had consistent bedtimes what resulted were lower cognitive test scores across:

  • Reading
  • Maths
  • Spatial Skills

For boys, reduced scores across maths, reading and spatial capabilities came when they had irregular bedtimes at two of the age groups across 3,5 and 7 years of age.

The scientists concluded that the regularity of bedtimes during a child’s early years was and is linked to their cognitive performance later in life. They encouraged parents to take this in mind when establishing their children’s and family’s bedtime routine and time. They emphasised that since what happens in early childhood can have significant knock on effects for health later in life the importance of establishing good habits early on is vital. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/12″ column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Why Exercise Is So Important For Kids

[vc_row type=”full_width_background” full_screen_row_position=”middle” bg_color=”#ffffff” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” bottom_padding=”10%” overlay_strength=”1″ shape_divider_position=”bottom”][/vc_row][vc_row type=”full_width_background” full_screen_row_position=”middle” bg_color=”#ffffff” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” bottom_padding=”10%” overlay_strength=”1″ shape_divider_position=”bottom”][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/1″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][vc_row_inner column_margin=”default” text_align=”left”][vc_column_inner enable_animation=”true” animation=”fade-in-from-bottom” column_padding=”padding-3-percent” column_padding_position=”top-bottom” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/12″ column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner enable_animation=”true” animation=”fade-in-from-bottom” column_padding=”padding-3-percent” column_padding_position=”top-bottom” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”10/12″ column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid” delay=”100″][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1533862471880{padding-top: 4% !important;padding-right: 4% !important;padding-bottom: 4% !important;padding-left: 4% !important;}”]Ensuring our children have the opportunity to be active, whether in structured sports or free play is an integral part assisting them to have a healthy development. Being exposed to active routines in childhood allows children to see exercise as a normal, enjoyable and routine opportunity to have fun, keep healthy and socialise. The health benefits of exercise are too numerous to list but the main points are that it ensures a healthy weight for your children, gets blood pumping to all areas of the body, including the head and can assist with greater levels of concentration and school grades. Exercise has also been found to help with mental health challenges in both adults and children and can be a way to channel pent up emotions and physical energy.

  1. Starting Young

Through encouraging our children to start exercising at a young age increases the likelihood that they will continue as adults. Routines and habits of life are set at an early stage of life, through a child’s developing years they are learning not just about their abc’s but how to do life itself. Providing our children with fun ways to be active like afternoon bike rides in the park, kicking a soccer ball back in forth and racing against mum or dad (savour the times when you actually get to let them win) can not only bring about healthy hearts, limbs and minds but an opportunity to bond and grow in love as a family.

  1. Heart Matters

Exercise that gets your heart bumping and heart rate rising usually falls into the category of cardio exercise. This means that your heart as well as your body gets to have a good work out. Activities like running, cycling, playing sports (high movement exercise) will call on your whole body to pitch in for the effort ensuring that all of you has a good work out. Through giving the heart the opportunity to have a time of intense pumping adults and children can reduce their risk of cardio (the heart) vascular (blood vessels) disease. The risk of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and obesity can be reduced through regular cardio exercise.

  1. Balance, Coordination, Strength, Fine and Gross Motor Skills and Concentration

Exercise can help your child develop their balance, coordination, muscular strength, all elements that greatly assist with doing and living life! Ball sports particularly can help with hand-eye coordination and both motor skills, skills that can translate into the classroom. From throwing a ball, to tracking it in the air and catching it activates huge parts of the brain. Your child’s brain is exposed to understanding elements of physics, prediction and judgment, to controlling legs running and arms/ hands adjusting to catch. These skills can help with holding a pen and writing and navigating the world of going to the toilette by themselves. Healthy blood flow to the brain has been shown to help with increased levels of concentration and knowledge intake in children as well. How it works is that exercise calls on the brain to work at its optimum state through causing nerve cells to multiply, creating stronger interconnecting bonds and raising their level of defence against damage. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/12″ column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Healthy Family Habits For Fostering Healthy Minds

[vc_row type=”full_width_background” full_screen_row_position=”middle” bg_color=”#ffffff” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” bottom_padding=”10%” overlay_strength=”1″ shape_divider_position=”bottom”][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/1″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][vc_row_inner column_margin=”default” text_align=”left”][vc_column_inner enable_animation=”true” animation=”fade-in-from-bottom” column_padding=”padding-3-percent” column_padding_position=”top-bottom” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/12″ column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner enable_animation=”true” animation=”fade-in-from-bottom” column_padding=”padding-3-percent” column_padding_position=”top-bottom” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”10/12″ column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid” delay=”100″][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1533092587393{padding-top: 4% !important;padding-right: 4% !important;padding-bottom: 4% !important;padding-left: 4% !important;}”]In this chaotic world of ours it is easy to sometimes feel lost and alone. Adults and children can both feel the strain and pressures present in our society. We have to manage and cope with exceptional pressures to succeed in school, sports, work, relationships and many other areas. All of this can sometimes lead to real and significant challenges such as depression and anxiety. Here are some simple approaches to looking after yourself, your children and your family unit.

  1. Family Bonds

It is very important for children to feel safe, secure and loved. Take the time to think of little habits you can pursue in your routine to provide the opportunity for the family to catch up casually. A great option is having dinner around the dinner table without any tv or music playing. Pursue dinner time as an opportunity to gently catch up on each other’s days, lives, hopes, wishes, disappoints and the whole enchilada (our lives are sometimes full and messy but it’s great to get stuck in and know and enjoy it all)! It may seem weird at first but after a few weeks you’ll be in the full swing. Share the cooking with your partner, or even invite a child to come in and learn about cooking. Ask for their opinion on what to cook and encourage them to be involved in the whole process.

  1. Games, Colouring in And Puzzles

Invest in some resources that the family can get stuck into of an afternoon and/or on the weekend. Low sensory stimuli, high creativity activities really encourage the brain juices to flow and develop. Activities like puzzles, board games and colouring in all call on the brain to be creative, think outside the box and problem solve. These activities call on the brain to think without having to process high stimuli injections (like loud noises/ music and swiftly moving cartoons) and so energy levels can stay at a nice equilibrium. Starting a big puzzle as a family provides the opportunity to engage in a long term project with your kids, exposing them to perseverance, teamwork, cooperation and memory challenges. Through having a focus, the family is able to bond and develop without pressure or boredom. Pick a puzzle with a theme that your children find interesting, like a Frozen Princess Ana and Elsa or Octonauts one.

  1. Listen And Learn

While some kids are all systems go and are confident to discuss their problems, other really struggle opening up, even to their parents. For parents with kids like this, provide opportunities for your child to speak up about what’s really going on in their lives. You might like to try, talk-talk tacos, where on tacos night everyone gets to share something that they are concerned about and ask for help on how to approach it. Have brave BBQ night, where as you teach your son or daughter to cook the meat, you can listen to what they might be worried about at school or at sports. A great way to provide a safe place for a child to open up is to do an activity at the same time, start walkin’ and a talkin’ afternoons where you stroll around your block just chatting about anything or head to the park to kick a ball around and see what develops. The trick is to make these activities at least weekly so that our children can get used to and rely on these activities happening.

  1. Be There

Most importantly, regardless of how you do it, make sure your child knows you are there for them. Children are like precious, sometimes very sticky, sponges. They absorb what we show them. If problems arise and we throw a tantrum, likely as not our children will too. We have the opportunity to lead by example, to show care and love in our day to day and nurture our children. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/12″ column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][/vc_row]