Posts Tagged ‘eating’

The holidays are here…

Monday, December 7th, 2015

pregnant woman in bedBesides the usual stress of pregnancy and getting ready for your baby, the holidays often add more pressure, which can take a toll on your health. Feeling stressed is common during pregnancy, but too much can make you have trouble sleeping, have headaches or lose your appetite. High levels of stress that continue for a long time may cause health problems like high blood pressure, which can increase the chances of having a premature baby.

December is a very busy time: there are friends and families to see, holiday gatherings to attend, meals to cook, and gifts to buy. So much to do! During this time, remember to take care of yourself: breathe deeply, relax and concentrate on your pregnancy.

Here are some tips:

  • Keep moving. Exercise can help reduce your stress and prevent pregnancy discomforts. If you are shopping for gifts, walk an extra loop around the mall before you head out to your car. Park further away in the parking lot (this way you can also avoid some of the traffic of shoppers trying to park close to the mall entrance).
  • Holidays are a time for delicious desserts and heavy meals. Before you sit down and indulge in your family dinner, eat a healthy breakfast and lunch earlier in the day.
  • Extra sleep is important during this time, but taking breaks is just as important. If you have some free time between wrapping gifts, put your feet up, read a book or magazine, or watch a favorite TV show. Even just a 15 minute break can help you relax before your next task.
  • Ask for help. Holidays are a time of giving, but also receiving. Accept help when a friend or family member offers and ask for help when you are feeling tired or overwhelmed.
  • Cut back on activities you don’t need to do. Instead of spending time making a holiday dessert, why not have your favorite bakery do it for you?

Holidays can be stressful, but remember to take time for yourself.

Have questions? Email AskUs@marchofdimes.org

Everyday tips for dealing with sensory special kids

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

hair washingMany kids with sensory issues struggle with typical everyday activities. Here are suggestions from parents of children with sensory difficulties to help you get through each day in a sensory friendly way. Some kids find bath time and hair washing to be a stressful experience. For other children, getting dressed in the morning or eating meals can be incredibly challenging. Yet others cringe at hearing typical sounds or noises. Here is what some parents recommend:

Tips for bathing

•   Let your child get in the bath when the water temperature feels right to him. He may need to stand in it a while before sitting down, in order to adjust to the feel of the water on his skin.

•    During hair shampooing, use a little pail or plastic bucket to rinse hair instead of using the shower nozzle. Water coming from a shower nozzle can be too direct and forceful.

•    When your child is old enough, allow him to rinse his own hair. Being in control of the pail and the water on his own head is less shocking to him than when someone else pours water on his head.

•    Use a facecloth to cover his face if water on the face will cause distress. Then allow your child to wipe his own face with a damp facecloth.

•    Use distractions in the bath, such as bath foam or toys, to make bath time more appealing.

•    Let your child decide if showering is preferable to bathing (when he is old enough).

Tips for dressing

•    Remove tags from clothing before wearing.

•    Let your child decide what kinds of clothes feel good on his skin. Usually brushed flannel or soft cotton or acrylic fabrics work well, but your child will know.

•    If your child hates getting dressed in the morning (due to the sensory changes), dress your child the night before in the clothes he will wear the next day. In other words, let him wear his clean clothes to bed. He may look a tad more wrinkled in the morning, but he will get his day off in a sensory calm way.

•    When you find a pair of pants, a shirt or outfit that your child loves (i.e. it “feels right”), buy two of them. This way, one can be laundered when the other one is being worn. Or, buy them in different colors if possible. Comfort – not fashion – is key here.

Tips for eating

•    As much as possible, have healthy choices available. If you know your child loves chicken with pasta, then child using forkmake a double portion. This way you can feed it to him another night in the same week, even if the rest of the family is eating something different. This allows you to eat together as a family and yet you did not cook two meals in one evening.

•    Freeze individual portions for meals on the fly, for the babysitter to serve to him, or when the family meal is sure to be too hard for your child to swallow (literally).

•    Ask your child’s pediatrician or consult with a Registered Dietician who is familiar with sensory issues to learn other ways of getting your child to eat a healthy diet. Perhaps mixing vitamin powder into your child’s food (such as spaghetti sauce) or offering protein shakes will substitute nutrients that your child may be missing.

Tips for sound sensitivity

•    Prepare your child for events that may be uncomfortable, such as large assemblies with people clapping, musical events, a meal in a big restaurant, birthday parties, etc. Soft ear plugs are often helpful to use at these events so keep them handy. Other children prefer noise-cancelling headphones.

•    Once home, provide a quiet environment so your child’s ears can rest.

Learn more

These are just a few tips for getting through a day in a sensory successful way. See my prior posts: Sensory difficulties in children to learn more about the different kinds of sensory problems that exist, and Help for sensory issues to learn about different treatments. Ask your child’s pediatrician if a treatment such as Sensory Integration Therapy (a form of Occupational Therapy) may be helpful. You can also discuss other treatments which are available.

Feel free to share what has worked for you and your child. We’d love to hear from you!

If you have questions, or would like more information, please email us at AskUs@marchofdimes.org.

Note:  This post is part of the weekly series Delays and disabilities – how to get help for your child. It was started in January 2013 and appears every Wednesday. While on News Moms Need and click on “Help for your child” in the Categories menu on the right side to view all of the blog posts to date (just keep scrolling down). We welcome your comments and input.

Dog bites and kids

Friday, May 15th, 2009

sleeping-dogOnce when I was a kid, I was riding my bike, and a neighbor’s dog ran out and bit me on the leg. I cried all the way home. I love dogs, but I also respect them.

Next week is National Dog Bite Prevention Week. Thanks to dog vaccinations  and other public health efforts, rabies is rare in the United States. But it’s still a serious concern. And dog bites can also cause infection and serious injury.

Here’s what you and you family can do to protect yourselves from dog bites:

* Don’t approach an unfamiliar dog.

* Don’t run from a dog or scream when you’re around a dog.

* Be “still like a tree” if an unfamiliar dog approaches.

* If a dog knocks you down, roll into a ball and lie “still like a log.”

* Avoid direct eye contact with a dog.

* Don’t disturb a dog that is sleeping, eating or caring for puppies.

* Before petting a dog, let it see and sniff you.

* Report stray dogs or dogs acting strangely to your local animal control agency.

For more information, read Dog Bite Prevention on the Web site of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Organic Thanksgiving Dinner?

Tuesday, November 25th, 2008

If your house is anything like mine, there’ll be LOADS of food at the dinner table on Thursday. As I get ready to help my mother prepare our Thanksgiving meal, I’ve noticed more organic foods are available at the grocery store. From organic turkeys to organic whipped cream, it seems you can by almost anything organic.

The New York Times Well column recently blogged about the cost of an organic Thanksgiving Day meal compared to a non-organic one. They found you could end up paying nearly 75% more when going all organic!

These rough economic times can make it hard to shop for food on a budget. And the American Dietetic Association says that more research needs to be done before we know for sure if organic foods are healthier or safer than other foods.

If you have a tight budget but want to buy some organic foods, try going for the foods that usually have more pesticide residue as compared to their organic versions. These include foods like lettuce, potatoes, apples or pears. But don’t sacrifice good nutrition for the organic label.  It’s more important that you eat a well-balanced diet rich in fruits and veggies than buy the organic whipped cream!

ABC’s of a healthy pregnancy, A-G

Thursday, July 10th, 2008

Healthy babies come from healthy pregnancies.  Having a healthy pregnancy starts before a woman plans on getting pregnant.  To help increase your chances of having a healthy baby, follow these ABC guidelines to a healthy pregnancy.

A:  Avoid hazardous substances such as mercury and alcohol that can be harmful to your unborn baby.  Stay away from other environmental factors that can put your health at risk.

B:  Breastmilk is the best food for most babies during the first year of life. Join a breastfeeding group or talk to a lactation consultant before giving birth to answers any questions or concerns you may have.

C:  Calcium is needed for strong healthy bones.  When you don’t get enough calcium, your body will take it from your bones and give it to your baby. Be sure to get enough calcium in your diet.

D:  Drugs, whether they are over-the-counter, prescribed, dietary supplements or illegal substances, can harm your baby and may even cause birth defects.  Stay away from all street drugs. Talk to your provider about any medications you are taking to make sure they are safe during pregnancy.

E:  Eat healthy and exercise. You only need 300 extra calories per day to support your baby’s growth and development, so make healthy food choices.  Unless there are medical reasons to avoid it, pregnant women can and should try to exercise moderately for at least 30 minutes on most, if not all, days.

F:  Folic acid is very important. Take a vitamin supplement that has 400 micrograms of folic acid BEFORE getting pregnant to reduce your baby’s risk of developing birth defects.

G:  Gas or feeling bloated is common in pregnant women.  Identify the foods that bother you and take your time when eating to help prevent excessive gas.

Visit us next Thursday to continue learning the ABC’s of a healthy pregnancy, H–Q.

Eating for 2

Friday, April 11th, 2008

Feeling snackish….

Can I raid the kitchen?

Not really, no. You only need 300 extra calories per day.  You just need to eat smart and make sure that most of your choices are healthy ones.

You may find that your interest in food changes during pregnancy. The old joke about pickles and ice cream came about for a good reason! You may not be very hungry during the first months. But you may want to eat everything in the house during the later months! Every woman is different, so if you don’t crave anything, that’s OK, too.

Watch your portions—you may be eating more than you think – and if you’re a grazer who eats “just a little” but all day long, keep an eye on your end-of-day total consumption! It will help to avoid too much sugar and fat in your diet, too. The important thing is to eat healthy foods that you like all during your pregnancy.