Correct Baby Wearing

After seeing a mom have her baby in a carrier that was bad for her child, I wanted to make sure you all knew what was good vs what was bad.  As you can tell from the photo above.  It is very important to choose an ergonomic carrier which will prevent you from contributing to hip dysplasia in your child.

Basically, you want to stay away from the dangling leg position in your carrier and look for more of a “M” position, which aids in the development of your child’s hips.  According to the International Hip Dysplasia Institute, baby’s with straight dangling legs in their carriers are at risk for developing hip dysplasia.

 

Fever Phobia

Dr. Chris and I recently encountered a very high fever with our daughter, Harper.  If you are anything like us, we had not heard of a fever ever getting that high, and after checking that the thermometer was working correctly on ourselves we started to freak!  We immediately called the pediatrician and scheduled an appointment to come in right away.  After the Dr. checked her out, said she was OK, ruled out strep, and deemed it just a viral infection. She told us to go home, keep giving her plenty of fluids to stay hydrated, and to regulate her fever by either giving a sponge bath or using Tylenol.  Unfortunately, she continued to have a very high fever, going upwards close to 107 degrees at some points for several days. Finally, her fever broke abruptly late Saturday night, and then Sunday morning Harper broke out in a rash all over her trunk.  The doctor then diagnosed Harper with the common viral infection known as Roseola.  Thankfully, she is now happy and healthy, and back to her normal trouble making ways.

The reason why I am writing this is to inform you that HIGH fevers do happen. They are important to you and your child’s immune system.  Fevers are the body’s way of turning on your immune response.  They do this by stimulating the body to produce more lymphocytes, T Cells, white blood cells, antibodies, and other immune responders to fight off the infection! A fever is classified as anything over 99.5* via the Temporal Artery Scanner or oral thermometer, and anything over 100.4* rectally.  Anything above 102* or a fever lasting more than 3 days, it is recommended that you call your pediatrician.  Very high temperatures are often associated with seizures.  However, febrile seizures are actually very rare, they only affect 2-5% of children. They are caused by rapid increase in temperature, not by the height of the temperature. Once a child already has a high fever, a febrile seizure is unlikely with the current illness.  If febrile seizures do occur, they usually last 1-3 minutes.  Very rarely will they last longer than that, and typically these seizures when short do not cause brain damage.  According to the NIH, “there is no evidence that they cause death, brain damage, epilepsy, a decrease in IQ, or learning problems”.  Additionally, the NIH states that “Brain damage from a fever generally will not occur unless the fever is over 107.6°F (42°C).”

When are fevers dangerous?  Here is a list of warning signs our doctor told us to watch out for.  This is when you should immediately go to the ER.

  • Lethargy – the baby should be able to hold his/herself up and respond to you.
  • If you notice baby is pale or flushed, or urinating less.
  • difficulty breathing
  • unexplained rash – which indicates a more serious problem when coupled with a fever.
  • Vomiting/Diarrhea – risk of dehydration increases with these
  • Fevers of 104 and above that don’t come down to 101-102 with Tylenol, Sponge baths, etc.
  • Irritability – more than just the usual fuzziness, she explained it to us as consistent crying for hours, if you find that nothing you do soothes them
  • Meningitis symptoms – high fever with a stiff neck or neck pain, headaches, vomiting, or bright light hurting their eyes.
  • If your infant is 6 weeks or younger, and has a fever of 101 degrees or higher, this is considered a medical emergency. Your doctor should evaluate your infant right away, either during business hours or in an emergency room after hours. Do not give any fever-reducing medications in this situation (you don’t want to hide the fever until after a doctor has evaluated your baby). Be sure to confirm any child fevers with a rectal thermometer (if available) before contacting your doctor.
  • Infants age 7 weeks to three months with a fever over 101 warrant an appointment with your doctor within the next several hours. You generally don’t need to contact your doctor in the middle of the night in this situation if the office opens within the next few hours. Simply follow our recommendations on treating fever below and call your doctor in the morning. If it is the early evening you should probably page your doctor, since the office won’t be open until the following day. Be sure to confirm any fevers with a rectal thermometer (if available) before contacting your doctor.

My biggest recommendation is to always trust your gut.  When in doubt, call your pediatrician.  If you can’t get a hold of them go to the ER!

Here are some of the ways we used to bring her fever down:

  • Sponge baths or using wash clothes with lukewarm water (not cold) on the back of her neck, wrists, elbows, knees, and groin. Never use rubbing alcohol because it can cause the temperature to drop too quickly causing it to spike again, plus it can be reabsorbed directly into the babies blood stream.
  • Repeatedly giving lots of fluids to keep her hydrated.
  • Homemade Vick’s on her feet (link included)
  • Lavender Oil mixed with a carrier oil such as coconut or olive oil on the back of the neck.
  • Dressed her in lose fitting clothing that wasn’t too heavy – one of our mistakes was to overdress Harper thinking she would have the chills, when in fact our Dr. said we would make the fever higher that way.  Even with blankets, she said only put one light blanket over the top of her.
  • Acetaminophen  or Ibuprophen, it is not recommended that you give your child Aspirin because it has been found to make your child more susceptible to a condition known as Reyes Syndrome.  Additionally, make sure to always use the measuring device given with the OTC medication being sure to give the proper dosage.

 

 

What causes the rise in colds/Flu’s in the fall?

Most of us know that Flu season and cold season is during the fall, but a lot of us don’t know why it occurs every year at the same time.

As Fall nears, the season starts to change from warm sunshine to a cold and dreary place.  Meaning we get less hours of sunlight, and we get less exercise.  Therefore, we are getting less Vitamin D which in turn will start to tax our immune system.  The journal Nature Immunology provides details of the synergy between the sunshine vitamin and our adaptive immune killer T cells. Vitamin D is shown to provide the activation key that stimulates T cells into action when invaders are detected.  Maintain your vitamin D blood levels between 50 and 70 ng/ml for optimal protection.

Another common trigger is the Holidays.  The fall brings Halloween where we and our kids get lots of candy, and eat more than usual because it is Halloween. Next comes Thanksgiving, where we are overindulging with appetizers that really could be a meal in itself, and then eating a full course meal for dinner with stuffing, gravy, breads, biscuits, candied ham,  candied potatoes.  All filled with excess sugar than our bodies are used to.  And don’t forget we haven’t even gotten to dessert!   Then we have leftovers!  And just when we think we are done with the leftovers, the holiday parties start, the cookie bakes, Hanukkah, and Christmas Eve and Day.  Are you starting to understand what I am saying?  We are eating WAY more sugar than ever before.  There are actual research studies and papers showing the negative effects of sugar on our immune system.  it basically shuts our immune system down because it is so overloaded by the sugar.  The results of a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN) demonstrates that the amount of sugar in two sweetened beverages lowers immune response by 50% for up to five hours after drinking or eating. A diet filled with complex carbohydrates has no detrimental effect on immunity and the high nutritional content of fresh vegetables, nuts and seeds provide the building blocks required to mount a healthy attack as needed.

So what can we do about it?  Being informed that sugar, exercise, and Vitamin D all play a role in weakening our immune system is a start.  Get yourself outside as much as possible, try to exercise or do some form of vigorous activity at least an hour/day.  Start taking a Vitamin D3 supplement.  Dr. Chris and I take 4000 IU’s /day, and Harper takes a combined Fish Oil/Vitamin D3 supplement which we follow the directions on how much to give her according to weight/age.  (nordicnaturals.com)   We have found her supplement at Nature’s Nutrition, Amazon, and even diapers.com.  Next, watch what you eat.  Try not to overindulge.  If you have a problem with saying no, don’t keep it in the house.  Eat more salads with dark leafy greens (ex. spinach, kale, collard greens, Swiss chard, arugula).   Try to skip all the sugary juices, sodas, or alcoholic beverages.  Drink more water!  Be sure to wash your hands especially after using the restroom or being in any public place.  We need to start to become more proactive with our health and not wait for the symptoms to start.

Importance of Tummy Time!

What is it?

  • Tummy time is when your baby is laying on his or her stomach while supervised.

Why is tummy time important?

  • It helps your baby develop their cervical and lumbar spinal curves.
  • It helps your baby learn to push themselves up, roll over, crawl, sit up, and pull up to stand.
  • It strengthens your babies suboccipital muscles (the muscles located right below the skull.
  • It also strengthens other muscles of the neck, shoulders, and trunk.
  • It helps develop the babies cervical facets by the neck rotation your baby does while in tummy time.
  • It helps round the skull. (prevents flat head syndrome aka plagiocephaly)
  • It aids in visual motor development and depth perception.
  • It helps prevent twisted neck, also known as positional torticollis.
  • Research has found that babies that don’t do tummy time are more likely to have developmental motor delays.

When do you start doing tummy time?

  • You can start doing tummy time from the moment they are born.
  • All babies should have some head control from the first day they are born.
  • For example, babies that are placed in the NICU are placed on their bellies. (research has shown that our bodies function optimally when we are prone or laying face down)

What are some examples of tummy time?

  1.  Dad or mom can lay down with baby stomach to stomach on chest.
    1. You can even do a step further and bring the baby away and towards your chest.
  2. Put the baby on a play mat or favorite blanket on their tummy. (you can place a rolled up towel/blanket under babies chest and shoulders for additional support)  Get down there with them and offer them some eye to eye time and support!
    1. To take it a step further you can put their favorite toys, colored blocks, mirrors or anything that will catch their attention (you can start to do this around 3 months of age)
  3. Baby Wearing – when you wear the baby in a carrier and they are stomach to stomach with you; it is causing the baby to have to use their neck more to see all around them.
  4. Playing airplane.
  5. Burping over lap or lap sooth – place baby tummy down over lap.  A hand on baby’s bottom will help steady and calm them.
  6. Tummy down carry or football hold – Position one hand under the tummy and between the legs and carry baby tummy down. Nestle  baby close to your body to help get baby accustomed to the position.

How long and how often should you be doing tummy time?

  • You and your baby should be doing tummy time EVERY DAY.
  • Tummy time should be done, especially in the beginning, for 2-3 minute increments.
  • Do tummy time as often as you can! You can never do tummy time too much!

Important Notes

  • Always do tummy time while you are supervising!
  • Always do tummy time on stable surfaces where baby is secure.

Importance of Getting Outside to PLAY

Kids today are growing up in a world of technology, and it is affecting their health.  How you may ask?  Well if you look around you can see it walking through the grocery store or mall.  No one looks up anymore.  No one speaks to one another.  Everyone, adults included, are so involved with their phones or electronic devices!  Unfortunately, not only are we increasing screen time, but we are seeing decreased play activity outdoors and lack of socialization.  Now, we are hearing a lot more diagnoses of ADHD and autism.  Scary stuff right?    The American Medical Association guidelines recommend that children ages 3-18 should be getting no more than 2 hours/day of screen time!  Today, children have way surpassed the recommendation and are spending most of their day, even at school now, in front of a screen.  Who would of thought when we were growing up that there would come a time when kids not getting outside enough would ever be a topic of conversation?  Kids are leading too structured lives with little to no time to be creative and imaginative outdoors. We need to make a change for our future, our kids future.

There is one simple answer to combat this activity deficiency, and that is to get not only our kids but ourselves outside more. There are many benefits to getting your children outside.  Not only will it give them room to play without worrying about getting the house dirty or allow them to run around uninhibited, but it will provide these benefits as well:

  1. Improved Vision – research done by Optometry and Visionary Science reported that the more time children spent outdoors increased their ability to see distances compared to children that stayed primarily indoors.
  2. Promotes Social Skills – Kids learn to take turns, share, problem solving, and motivation.
  3. Increasing attention span –  studies have shown that children with ADHD had far less symptoms when they were given the chance to play outdoors, and had more outdoor activity.  The more active the child the less the ADHD symptoms appeared.
  4. Reduces Stress – I am sure you have all experienced the stress relief being outdoors gives us, especially after a long day at work.  I always look forward to that first breath of fresh air and instant relaxation when I leave the office.  One author states that some studies, “…also support the theory that green spaces might help restore children’s ability to focus their attention, thereby bolstering their cognitive resources by allowing neural inhibitory mechanisms to rest and recover from use.”
  5. Provides Vitamin D – although it is tough here in the Northeast, especially in the winter months.  Any time outside spent in the sunlight helps your body naturally produce the Vitamin D it needs to function properly.

One thing you may be thinking is how do I pry my kids away from the screen?  If you children see you being active, it is only natural for your children to follow.  One way to deter screen time is to keep a basket of toys by the backdoor and every time they go to pick up their IPAD, watch television, play video games, or go on the computer take one of the activities out and head outdoors.  9 times out of 10 your children will follow because they want to hang out with you!

Another way to get the kids outdoors more would be to take them out of the house and to a local park.  Some parks are great to play on the swingset, but others are great for Hiking!  If you are looking to try out hiking for the first time try Cattus Island’s blue trail.  It is a very simple hike and it gets you all outdoors! Allaire state park is also a great place to go and explore!  Here is a list of local parks in the area and how close they are to our office:

  • Wind Ward Beach Park – 3.5 miles
  • Mantoloking Bridge County Park – 3.3 miles
  • Cattus Island Park – 6.9 miles
  • Silverton Park – 3.9 miles
  • Castle Park – 6.6 miles
  • Allaire State Park – 15 miles

You can also take the kids to the beach or boardwalk which is just a quick 10 minute ride from our office.  Even during the winter months, it is always found to find treasures on the beach and make a game out of it! Let your kids use their imagination and grow outside of the classroom!

Do yourself and your child a favor, and get off those electronics and get some fresh air!

Dangers of Sports Drinks and What to Drink Instead

Have you or your child ever tried a sports drink or pedialyte?  Both have been advertised to be a great hydration for the body, full of electrolytes, and even better than water!  However, it turns out that they have been misleading us.  There are many harmful ingredients in these drinks that have been linked to a lot of potential problems down the line, such as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and ADHD.  For example, take a look at the ingredient list found on the Gatorade Thirst Quencher Orange:  water, SUGAR, dextrose, citric acid, natural flavor, salt, sodium citrate, monopotassium phosphate, gum arabic, sucrose acetate, isobutyrate, glycerol ester of rosini, and yellow 6.  Basically all I see there is sugar and chemicals!?!  AND, yellow number 6 has been linked to learning and concentration disorders in children, aggravating ADHD symptoms!

One of my biggest concerns is the sugar content.  In just one 32 ounce Gaterade/Powerade there is 200 calories and 52.5 grams of sugar! That amount of sugar alone cancels out the electrolyte benefit right off the bat.  It will cause your blood sugar levels to spike and then drop so quickly that you will feel even more tired than before you had the drink!

Furthermore, according to the journal of applied physiology, sports drinks do not quench your thirst, but actually in fact just make you drink more.  They state in their research that it is actually the flavoring and salt intake that make you drink more, and in turn stay more hydrated than before.

Additionally, the acid found in the sports drink will actually erode your teeth more than drinking a can of soda!  A study done in the journal of general dentistry said “after 5 days of consistent consumption, the acid starts to irreversibly destroy tooth enamel”.

After reading all of this, you must be thinking ok, I do not want to drink that anymore, but what can I do to keep myself and my child hydrated while exercising or playing in sports or even if your child gets the stomach bug and needs to stay hydrated.  There are many different things you can make or use as your own natural sports drink without all the dangerous add-in’s you find in sports drinks like Gatorade or Powerade or even Pedialyte. Coconut water is the liquid that is found inside the coconut. It has actually been nicknamed “Nature’s Gatorade.” It contains 5 important electrolytes:

  1. Potassium: The most important positive ion (cation) inside your cells; potassium regulates heartbeat and muscle function. Coconut water contains 295 mg, which is 15 times the amount in the average sports drink
  2. Sodium: The most important positive ion in fluid outside your cells, and also the one most depleted with exercise, as you lose sodium through sweat and urine
  3. Magnesium: Important for maintaining the electrical potential of your cells, proper muscle function, and preventing calcium overload
  4. Phosphorus: Plays important roles in bone health, but also in transferring energy throughout your body, helping your muscles contract, and regulating nerve function (partners with calcium)
  5. Calcium: Important for bone health (partners with phosphorous)

Now you can drink the coconut water alone or you can add it on to your own homemade sports drink.  A simple homemade recipe you can use is the following: 3-4 slices of fresh ginger, 1 cup of water plus any extra you want to add in, juice of 1/2 a lemon, 1/4 tsp of sea salt, 1-2 tsp of raw honey (not for the use of children under 2).  All you have to do is mix well, and it is ready for your consumption!  You can even freeze the concentrate for later use, and all you will have to do is add water when your ready to drink it!

Homemade Vicks

One of the reasons I started to make my own Vicks Vapor Rub was because I had a child, and I started to look at every single label of the things I purchased to use on her.  One of the things that always made me nervous about Vicks was a couple of  ingredients in the gel, one of them being petrolatum.    There have been several studies linking Vicks Vapor Rub to severe respiratory problems. Research published in the peer-reviewed journal of the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP), found that it can  interfere with the ability of infants and toddlers to breathe.  “The ingredients in Vicks can be irritants, causing the body to produce more mucus to protect the airway,” Dr. Rubin, the study’s lead author, said in a statement to the media. “Infants and young children have airways that are much narrower than those of adults, so any increase in mucus or inflammation can narrow them more severely.”

Furthermore, Petrolatum is one of those nasty ingredients that have been linked to breast cancer in women and men.  “Among the studies linking the petrolatum impurity PAHs [polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons] to breast cancer is a Columbia University study in which researchers found that the breast tissue of women with breast cancer was 2.6 times more likely to contain elevated levels of PAHs bound to DNA (called DNA adducts) than the breast tissue of women without breast cancer (Rundle et al. 2000). Serious questions need to be answered over the safety of petrolatum or petroleum jelly as it is more commonly known.”

After reading/researching the information I have shared with you above, I started using essential oils, and I haven’t looked back since.  The brand we use and sell at the office is called Young Living.  You can sign up for an account to buy their products through the link above or HERE.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil (any food store, even Homegood’s will have it at a reduced price)
  • 2 tbsp bees wax, which can be bought on amazon
  • 10 drops lemon oil for children under 10, eucalyptus oil for anyone over 10
  • 4 drops thieves oil

Directions

In the pot on the stove on low heat, I melt the coconut oil and bees wax.  I usually make one large batch and put it in a large glass container with a lid to use as needed throughout the winter season. Once you have gotten the coconut oil/bees wax mixture to melt, I remove the pot from the heat and put in the lemon oil or eucalyptus oil (depending on age) the thieves oil.  I let that sit until the coconut oil/bees wax hardens again, and then I put it in the glass container for later use!  Rub on the chest and back as needed.

 

Super Immunity & The American Diet

Dr. Chris and I have read “Super Immunity” by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, MD over 100 times by now.  Each time we read it we find another valuable piece of information.  It is a good book to read if you are looking to improve your families health/diet.

Did you know that today the American Diet takes over 60% of its calories from processed foods?  Each year that percentage raises more and more.  This includes most foods made with sweeteners, white flour and oils; such as: white bread, bagels, chips, pasta, donuts, cookies, breakfast bars, cold cereals, soft drinks, pretzels, condiments, and premade salad dressings.  We as a country consume less than 10 percent of their calories from unrefined plant foods such as fruits, beans, seeds, and vegetables.  However, this is misleading because at least half the vegetable consumption in America is white potato products, including fries and chips!

What does this mean to us?  The modern diet is not just slightly derived in a handful of micronutrients, but grossly deficient in hundreds of important plant derived immunity building compounds!  Vegetable consumption is something we as a country need to start making a priority in our diets.  If we don’t make that change we are going to start seeing a lot more chronic conditions, poor quality of life and premature deaths earlier than ever before.  As I have talked about earlier, obesity has become a major problem in America.  We are the first generation who won’t live out our parents generation in age.  According to the CDC, more than one third of American Adults are obese, costing us $147 billion dollars in health care costs in 2008!  That was 7 years ago, and with the rate steadily increasing each year, the health care cost goes up!  Childhood obesity is also extremely high at 17% of Americans for the age groups of 2-17, which affected 12.7 million children last year!

So how do we change these staggering statistics? We need to not only start educating our children with the importance of eating more vegetables, but we ourselves need to start eating healthier too.  We can not expect our kids to want to eat healthy if they watch our unhealthy eating habits.  So not only do we have to be good role models for our children’s behaviors, but their eating habits too!  Get rid of the excuse, “I just don’t like the taste of vegetables”.  There are no excuses when it comes to health.  There are so many vegetables out there.  Find ones that you and your family like and try and incorporate them into your meals.  Here are some tips at eating healthier and getting your kids to eat healthier.  Start food shopping on the weekends or a day off so that you have a day to start preparing meals for the week.  We cut up all our vegetables on Sunday, and make mason jar salads for throughout the week.  Every night, we always make sure there is at least one vegetable on our plate!  We typically will snack on carrots, peppers, snap peas, or cut up cucumbers through out the day.  We always try and have a small salad for lunch or a side of dark leafy greens sauteed for dinner.  Then we always have another type of vegetable medley for dinner.  Obviously, it is going to be harder to start to change on a drastic measure so start small.  Make your goal this month to find which veggies your family likes, and at least incorporate one a day!  Then you can add on from there!

Natural Remedy for Productive Cough/ Decongestant

The following is a recipe that we use when we get congested, have a productive cough, and/or have a lot of mucus in our throats.  We at the Chiropractic Family Center have been recommending it to patients for over 38 years.  Dr. Jim Higgins learned of this natural remedy from Edgar Casey.  Everyone who has tried it only speaks highly of it as a natural decongestant/cough remover!

Ingredients

  • Juice of a whole lemon
  • White of an egg
  • Tablespoon of honey
  • 7 drops of pure glycerin

Whip ingredients together in a bowl.  Leave on the counter so that it stays at room temperature.  Cover with cellophane.  Take one tablespoon every hour you are awake.  Be sure to make new batch every day.

Most common question is where to buy glycerin.  You can find it at your local drug store (CVS, Walgreen’s) or at your local health food store (Nature’s Nutrition is the store we use)  You will just have to ask the pharmacist because they have it in the back.  You can also find it online, which is what we do.   You can click HERE to find it.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  DO NOT USE for children under the age of 2 due to Honey!!!