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Babies + Kids

Top 10 Reasons Why Parents Take Their Children to See a Chiropractor

1. To encourage good neural plasticity

2. To support “first- class “ nerve communication throughout the body – promoting health and well-being

3. To help strengthen their child’s immunity

4. To help resolve breastfeeding issues and colic

5. To reduce the detrimental impact our modern world has on our children

6. Encourages child to thrive by supporting digestive strength

7. To help improve child’s ability to learn and concentrate

8. To promote body balance – resolving poor posture, and encouraging proper biomechanics

9. To help kids stay fun and light-hearted

10. To help kids stay in tip-top shape to run, jump, play and do all the things kids do!

(as adapted by Dr. Jennifer Barham of Well Adjusted Babies)

I love seeing my little patients in practice and they respond so well often having epic naps and sleeps post-treatment.  If you have any questions about chiropractic care for your baby or child, send me an email at hello@draliya.ca.

xo

Dr Aliya

Babies + Kids

Tummy Time: Why it’s important!

 

If you’re a parent, you’ve inevitably heard of “tummy time”.   However, you may not really know why its so important for your baby in terms of his or her development. Read on, my friend.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) continues to advise parents that the safest position for babies to sleep is on their backs.   This has been shown to greatly reduce the occurrence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). However, as babies spend more time on their backs, pediatricians and health practitioners have noted an increase in misshapen heads (cranial asymmetry) and a flattening effect on back of the head called positional plagiocephaly.

Enter tummy time.

Tummy time helps to get babies off their backs for periods of time (under supervision, of course!) giving the occipital area or back of the head a break from all that back sleeping. It also helps baby develop neck, back and shoulder muscles they need to meet gross motor milestones such as rolling over, crawling and sitting up.

Tummy time can start as early as when baby comes home from the hospital but many parents wait until the umbilical cord stump has fallen off for baby’s comfort. The current recommendation is at least 20 minutes per day with gradual increases as your baby gets older. I almost always recommend 30 minutes per day to my patients. Remember, this doesn’t have to be all at once and can be broken up into shorter segments starting from just a few minutes a session.

Here are a few tips I give to parents to encourage happy tummy play:

  • Engage baby in tummy time when she’s content and alert. Avoid insisting on it when she’s fussy. Forcing tummy time will cause a negative association for your baby.
  • Try different tummy time positions – holding baby on your chest while lying flat, placing baby on a firm safe surface, holding baby on your forearms (football hold), propping him up on a small pillow or blanket or lying baby on your lap. To make things more interesting, try tummy time on a exercise ball. (see my video on tummy time on an exercise ball here or check below).
  • Interact with your baby during tummy time. Get down on the floor and talk to, play with, sing to and be silly with your baby! This will help distract baby and keep them from becoming frustrated.
  • Consistency is key! Every bit of a tummy time makes a difference. Try to make it a fun part of your baby’s day. If you have done plenty of tummy time with baby but are concerned they are still not meeting milestones, bring your concerns to the attention of your pediatrician or health care provider.
  • If your child consistently fusses during tummy time, it may be time to bring him or her in to see a chiropractor. Often spinal misalignments resulting during birth may contribute to your wee one being fussy or crying during tummy time.

Recently, I’ve tried doing tummy time with William in his Dockatot (one of my fave baby essentials). I just position him on his belly in the Dockatot with his arms and belly over the bumper and place an interesting toy or mirror in front of him and he’s happy! Easy breezy tummy time!

Here’s a video of William  doing tummy time on the exercise / therapy ball!

Always remember: Back to Sleep and Tummy to Play!

 

Babies + Kids

Easy Snack Ideas for a HANGRY Toddler

Ever had a “hangry” toddler in your midst? Eyes bulging, face crimson, mouth drooling, high pitched squeaks emanating….it’s not pretty.

My 2.5 year old is an utter monster when she’s hungry and as a parent there is a fine line between getting the monster fed with whatever is within reach stat and making sure she has a healthy, nutritious snack to gobble down.

I know I’m not alone when I say that it’s often a struggle to come up with some creative snack ideas to keep your child fed nutritiously.

I wouldn’t say I have a picky, fussy eater – but she definitely has her moments when the same snack offered at daycare pick up just isn’t going to cut it and sends her over the edge into tantrum land.

I also know that just like her mama, she is a “grazer”.   She likes to snack frequently during the day and doesn’t do a ton of eating in one sitting.

That’s when we rely on healthy, “well-timed” snacks, which can help balance out an uneven diet, tiding toddlers over between meals and keeping them from getting so hungry that they become unyielding terrors. Most toddlers do well with three meals and two or three snacks a day.

The good news is that toddlers aren’t aware of “junk food” at the age of 2-3 and the influence you have on your child’s eating patterns is amazing at this stage. They’ll basically eat what’s served to them (for the most part) and as parents we can try to take this opportunity to set the stage for some healthy food choices.

Here are few super easy healthy snack ideas and tips:

  • Stock up on fresh fruits and veggies that are easy to eat and are colourful (raspberries, blueberries, pomegranate seeds, red, green, yellow peppers, etc)
  • Think small, easy to handle bite sized portions. Cutting up cubes of cheese or chopping up an apple in slices rather than chunks is a novelty to your toddler. Trust me, offering snack choices creatively helps!
  • Dips – my toddler loves any type of “dunking” – things like hummus and veggies or yogurt and strawberries keep your little person interested and occupied for a few moments.
  • Offer a couple of snack choices — let them decide if they want nuts and raisins or carrots and hummus.  A few snack options are a great way for your toddler to feel in charge of their food choices.
  • Involve them in the prep process. Its easy to have them peel a clementine or mandarin or pull the skin from a banana. They feel pretty grown up when you include them in the process and they take an interest in the food they are eating.

These ideas are just a start! You don’t have to be a supermom to put together creative snack ideas…trust me! If I can do it….you can too!

Plus, below are a few foodie blogs that I absolutely LOVE that offer a TON of information and creative food ideas from babes to toddlers. Check them out!

www.babyfoode.com – Michele is a mama of 2 and her blog is an amazing resource with tons of recipes and ideas broken down into baby food, toddler food AND family recipes! She also has a bunch cookbooks and ebooks that are filled with yummy recipes!

www.joyoushealth.ca – Joy McCarthy is my go-to for healthy, amazing food inspo and since having her sweet baby Vienna she has cooked up some amazing tasty and healthy recipes for babes and toddlers. Rosie absolutely loves her Good Morning Breakfast Cookies and her Strawberry Chia Pudding – both are staples at our house!

www.sproutright.com – Founder Lianne Phillipson-Webb’s book and website is a great resource for parents offering simplified nutritional information for your little people and for your family. She covers topics such as introducing your baby to solids as well as how to cope with food sensitivities and allergies your toddler may develop.

xo

Dr Aliya

 

 

 

 

 

 

Babies + Kids

Things I Never Leave Home Without

Going from a designer bag to a diaper bag was not an easy transition for me – I’m sure a lot of mamas can relate. Trading cute style for multiple storage compartments and an easy to pack diaper pad was not my idea of staying on trend.

As Rosie got older and became a toddler, the big cumbersome diaper bag filled with baby essentials like extra sleepers, bottles and a supply of diapers was replaced by a cute leather tote with a handful of key items for both of us.

Here’s a list of the things I never leave home without (from left to right):

1. My BKR bottle

A BPA-free glass reusable water bottle that often feels like a cute accessory more than a necessity. The stylish design of this bottle allows it to fit neatly into my tote making it easy to stay hydrated all day long. (find it here shopbeautifully.com)

2. Rosie’s Kleen Kanteen Bottle

I love this super light-weight sippy water bottle for Rose – and it’s drop-proof!   It’s aluminum and BPA free and small enough for her little hands.

3. Love Child Organics Fruit Pouches

By far the best tasting fruit pouches out there – it literally tastes homemade. So easy to pop into my purse and have on hand when Rose gets super hangry. PS the company is Canadian! Love!

4. Robert Munsch’s Mud Puddle

Um who doesn’t love a good Robert Munsch book?! Rosie loves this story and it’s super mini so it goes everywhere!

5. Raisins and Almonds

For mama and baby on the go. A little snack during errands and some play time keeps us going all day long.

6. Burts Bees Beeswax Lip Balm

So nourishing and hydrating for my lips and I love the little zing from the peppermint oil.

7. Aleva Baby Wipes

I never, ever, ever leave home without these wipes. Not just for bums, but for sticky messy fingers and runny noses – they are the best. Super sensitive and not overly fragrant. They are awesome for delicate skin.

8. A Diaper

We are now starting to potty train Rose so I pack at least one diaper when we are on the go!

9. Thomas the Train

Obviously.

10. Dimpleskins Naturals Bum Bum Balm

For those unexpected diaper rashes. It’s zinc-free and made with calendula oil which provides natural healing for rashes. (find it here well.ca)

11. Substance Natural Sun Block Stick

As the weather gets warmer, I always have some sunblock handy for Rosie especially. It goes on super easy and doesn’t leave a filmy residue like most other sunblocks. Plus it’s super natural and safe for babies.

12. Honest Company’s Face + Body Lotion

Travel size lotion for dry skin and not greasy at all.

13. Minions Band Aids

Because sometimes you get a boo-boo and you need a minion band-aid to make it all better (and a mommy kiss of course).

14. KIND Granola Bar

No one likes a hangry mommy.

 

OK, so that seems like a lot – but they are my essentials for a day on the go with a toddler.

I’m curious to know… what are some of your diaper bag essentials?

Babies + Kids

YOGA: Not just for grown ups anymore!

 

The benefits of yoga for grown ups are well documented- helping with things like stress reduction, increased physical strength and flexibility, mental clarity…the list goes on.

But I bet you didn’t know that yoga for babies and children is also super beneficial giving kids increased emotional awareness and boosting their self-esteem and confidence!

Recently, a study published in the Journal of Child and Family Studies found that gentle mindfulness-based yoga helped children regulate their emotions (bye, bye tantrums). Children’s ability to stay focused and attentive was also noted after yoga.

Exposing your kids to yoga at a young age helps them to learn about themselves and empowers them to be in charge of their emotions.   Our daughter, Rose goes to a daycare centre that incorporates yoga into their weekly routine and she absolutely loves it!

We’ll do a yoga session together and she’ll be the teacher, showing us all the poses. It allows us to take some time out of our crazy hectic schedules and find some calm and peacefulness together as a family.

Here are a few ways you can practice yoga at home with your child:

  • Be the example. One of the most important things is for parents to do yoga while their kids are present. Modeling poses or lying still in Savasana will peak your child’s interest and curiosity and they will definitely ask what you are doing.
  • Create a warm yoga space. Lie out mats, use cushions and pillows and choose a space clear of furniture and toys to eliminate distractions.
  • Get creative. Encourage your children to use their own creativity and invent their own poses. Children will love playing animals, trees, flowers and warriors. Barking in dog pose, hiss in cobra pose and meow in cat stretch!
  • Make it a ritual. Similar to brushing teeth, your family yoga practice can be included in a daily or weekly routine. It could be a few minutes of quiet breathing or a 20 minute yoga practice with posture. Our daughter knows that “yoga time” means bringing out her little yoga mat and towel.

Yoga classes for families are a great way to spend some time together. Toronto Yoga Mamas offers weekly weekend family yoga classes. For more information, check their website www.torontoyogamamas.com.

I would love to hear about your family’s yoga time – send me a note at hello@draliya.ca.

Babies + Kids

Q&A: Do babies really need shoes?

Q. Is it true that babies need to wear shoes when learning to walk to help their feet develop normally?

A. This is a very popular question parents often ask.  The answer is a simple no.  Babies do not need shoes to help their feet develop or even to help them learn to stand or walk.

Although tiny high-tops and little Mary Janes are adorable, they don’t actually help support the feet when walking.  In fact, they become more of a hindrance when practicing walking skills.

At birth, a baby’s foot is comprised of cartilage – firm but flexible connective tissue that eventually forms into bone around 5 years of age.  This results in a foot that is very flexible.  Walking barefoot will encourage that flexibility and allow baby’s tiny foot muscles to develop and strengthen properly.  Having good flexibility is important for the normal development of the arch of the foot.  Going shoeless will also help babies gain balance and co-ordination without tripping over cumbersome footwear.

Walking barefoot will encourage flexibility and allow baby’s tiny foot muscles to develop and strengthen

At this age, the only real purpose of a shoe would be to protect their tiny tootsies from hot, rough, sharp or splintered surfaces.  If the floor or surface is chilly, have your wee one walk around in soft-soled, flexible baby shoes or even socks.  Flexible shoes will help mimic the natural flexibility of the foot.

Here are a few of my favourite baby friendly footwear choices:

Minimocs

Minimoc moccasins have a soft-soled flexible bottom made of suede which make them great non-slip footwear.  Not to mention they come in fabulous colours and are handmade in Canada.

Robeez

Robeez soft-sole shoes are perfect for growing feet with a stretch elastic on both sides that allows the shoe to fit snugly but won’t leave marks of baby’s feet.  They are machine washable and tumble-dry as well!

Pediped

Pediped shoes are a comfortable shoe for baby with a roomy toebox so feet can move, grip and feel the floor.  The sole has now been updated with a new diamond treat making them more slip resistant.

Read my Q&A expert column and get amazing mama and baby advice & resources at BabyPost.com.

(Original post at babypost.com)

Babies + Kids

Your infant sleep questions…ANSWERED!

As a new mom, I remember spending endless early morning hours searching the internet in the hopes of finding the miracle that would help my little girl sleep through the night! Or even sleep a 6 hour stretch!  I know I’m not alone!  On every new parents mind is – SLEEP! When will my baby sleep through the night? What do I do to help?  Countless articles and books have been written around the subject of Infant Sleep.

Last year, when I was awake at 4 am researching the matter on the internet I came across Catherine Wright – sleep consultant extraordinaire and owner of Motherhand, offering supportive sleep coaching. Her approach and philosophy surrounding sleep is integrative and intuitive allowing parents the space to use a variety of sleep solutions and embracing all parenting styles.

We asked Catherine some of our frequently asked sleep questions – here’s what she had to say.

Q: When is a good time to start sleep training?

A: There is a wonderful book called Bedtiming, by Marc Lewis and Isabela Granic, which gives parents an overview of optimum ‘windows’ for making modifications around an infant or child’s sleep, based on where they are at developmentally.

The 5.5 – 7.5 month window is considered a good time for sleep coaching. At this age, babies are naturally starting to consolidate overnight sleep (and so we’re simply finding ways to nudge the process along). Developmentally, they tend to be focused on tactility, and more interested in exploring the edges of a sleep sack, or grasping for comfort buddy, than tracking parents’ whereabouts.

Because separation anxiety and social referencing tends to peak around the 9-month mark, this is not an ideal time to make big changes around a baby’s sleep.

The 5.5-7.5 month window is considered a good time for sleep coaching

Q: When is it too early to sleep train?

A: Of course, there are differing opinions on this.

Internal, biological forces like melatonin production (a sleepy hormone) and the development of the circadian rhythm start kicking-in around the 4-month mark, totally transforming the sleep landscape for a baby. It’s helpful to wait until these processes are underway, before helping a baby learn to fall asleep and resettle more independently (introducing new sleep associations and moving away from bouncing, holding or feeding a baby to sleep).

Some pediatricians and sleep experts feel babies as young as 2-3 months are ready to ‘sleep train’. In my experience, this is not always the case. I prefer to wait until a baby is 5 months before starting sleep coaching – parents can see marked changes very quickly, and changes tend to ‘stick’ at this age, when parents are consistent.

Sleep foundations should be solidly rooted before parents start with any sleep coaching method. Without foundations in place, parents often get frustrated or stressed because they aren’t seeing results, tears are not easing off as they’d hoped, or, if they have initial success, it starts to unravel within a few weeks.

Q: What is sleep shaping?

A: I think of sleep shaping as the gentle steps parents can take, starting on day one, to set their baby up for long term, healthy sleep. Sleep shaping is mindful of a baby’s developmental age and stage, and how the sleep ‘puzzle’ comes together over time.   Sleep shaping is essentially laying down the ‘sleep foundations’:

  • Ensuring baby’s health, nutrition and emotional wellbeing is in check
  • Creating a healthy sleep environment for baby
  • Cultivating simple routines around baby’s naps and bedtime
  • Ensuring baby is getting enough daytime and nighttime sleep for his age (being mindful of not overstretching wakeful periods during the day)
  • Establishing (fairly) non-variable wake-up and bed times

Once foundations are in place and baby is old enough, parents can start to teach their baby how to fall asleep with less intervention by giving them new associations around sleep which support self-settling.

Sleep shaping are the gentle steps parents can take, starting on day one, to set their baby up for long term, healthy sleep

Q: Will my baby ever sleep through the night?

A: Yes! When sleep foundations are in place this often unfolds organically, when baby is ready. There is also a huge range within ‘normal’ when it comes to overnight waking patterns in the first year of life, but most healthy babies are quite capable of this by 6 months (many earlier).

Don’t forget that all babies and toddlers wake frequently at night! The difference between a baby who is ‘sleeping through’ and a baby who is still waking at night is that the baby who is ‘sleeping through’ has learned some sleep skills which allow him to resettle on his own when he wakes and doesn’t have an immediate need.

For parents who want to be more proactive around nudging their baby in this direction, they’d first want to ensure sleep foundations are in place, and then find a sleep coaching method that fits with their parenting style, household set up, and their baby’s temperament and age.

It possible to embark on sleep coaching while respecting that a baby still may need to feed overnight.

sleeping baby 1

Q: How about bedtime routines?

A: Sleep routines are possibly the most important sleep foundation for babies, toddlers and adults.

Wind-down routines offer babies a transition between ‘awake time’ and falling asleep – it is the predictability around routines that sets sleep in motion. Instilling routines early on makes it easier to help a baby learn to settle more independently, down the road.

Here are a few key ingredients for a bedtime wind-down routine:

  • Doing relatively the same low-key activities in the same order each evening before your child’s intended bedtime (bath, PJs, cuddles and books, lullaby, bed).
  • Turning off all screens in the home and dimming lights
  • Darkening baby’s sleep space (as dark as you can get it!)
  • Using a bedtime lullaby or ‘sleepy mantra’ around settling baby into sleep
  • Ending the routine ends in baby’s sleep space

Parents can start with a short, simple routine and build upon it as their baby gets older. Using continuous ‘white noise’ around wind-down routines and overnight can be incredibly helpful in the first year of baby’s life.

Wind-down routines offer babies a transition between ‘awake time’ and falling asleep

Q: What else can parents do to help with the sleep training process?

A: It’s essential to consider a baby’s health, nutrition and emotional wellbeing before starting on a sleep coaching plan. If a baby’s birth experience was traumatic in any way, if baby has had a history of reflux, colic, or difficulty latching or feeding – chiropractic care is tremendously beneficial and will support the changes parents are making towards improving their child’s sleep.

By optimizing baby’s nervous system (neural communication) and assisting any restrictions in his body, chiropractic treatments often make the sleep learning journey a much smoother process.

chiropractic treatments often make the sleep learning journey a much smoother process

Q: How would you know if your baby or toddler is a good candidate for sleep coaching?

A:

  • You have a 6-month baby (or older) who is waking frequently at night and having trouble resettling.
  • Bedtime is routinely a drawn out process, or fraught with tears or lots of protesting.
  • Your baby is 6 months or older and has very unpredictable routines around sleep.
  • You feel your baby or child is chronically not getting enough restorative sleep during the day or at night.
  • You’ve made sacrifices to accommodate your baby or child’s sleep but are now so exhausted your day-to-day life is affected and you’re not sure about the best way forward.
  • You have multiple children and are struggling to find peaceful routines around helping them to sleep in a way that works for your family.
  • Your baby is no longer a newborn but you are all sleeping like he is.
  • You simply want support around creating new routines for the way your family sleeps.

If you have any other questions or would like to speak with Catherine, visit her website at www.motherhand.com.  You won’t be sorry you did!

Babies + Kids

How to strengthen your baby’s back muscles!

Unfortunately these days our babies spend way too much time in carriers, car seats, highchairs and strollers! It’s important to let babies and toddlers explore the world around them. Teaching them to engage in a wide range of physical activities is important for their strength, balance and co-ordination.

As your baby grows into a toddler, “tummy time” may no longer be applicable. However there are a few ways to stimulate his postural muscles to help development and improve brain function!

Here are a few ideas:

  • Regularly tickle their back
  • Write letters and numbers on their back in the bath
  • Play on all fours (pretend to be wild animals)
  • Encourage hand-stands and cart-wheels
  • Dance!
  • Use hula-hoops
  • Rub the back of their necks along their hairline
  • Play on jungle gyms, slides, or balance beams
  • Try jumping games like hopscotch or jumping jacks
  • Play on the floor with everyone lying on their tummy

 

 

(Reference: Ticklish by Dr Jennifer Barham-Floreani)