6 Ways for Expectant Parents to Start Their Baby’s Health Off on the Right Foot

Someone once said that having a baby is like choosing to have your heart go walking around outside your body. Even if you don’t get a bit nervous every time your child is out of eyesight, you want to do everything possible to safeguard their total well-being.

Parents can do a lot to influence their child’s development. The habits your little one acquires in childhood often stay with them for life, including their attitudes towards diet and exercise. Here are six ways for expectant parents to start their baby’s health off on the right foot.

baby feet

1. Take Them to the Dentist
It can cost upward of $10,000 for an uncomplicated vaginal delivery in the United States. Even that hefty price tag, however, pales in comparison to the cost of ongoing health problems. Researchers have associated oral bacteria with everything from cardiovascular disease to dementia, and instilling positive dental habits in your little ones starts young.

You should schedule your initial visit for right after your baby gets their first tooth or by their first birthday – whichever comes first. Your dentist will then discuss the ideal treatment schedule for you as your child ages.

2. Have Them Tested
The staff at the hospital where you deliver will put your infant through an initial battery of tests. However, you may need multiple follow-up visits, depending upon the results.

For example, hospital staff will test your baby’s hearing within the first 48 hours to identify congenital disabilities leading to deafness. However, your child will also undergo routine screenings at school and routine physicals as they age.

Doctors and nurses take a sample of your child’s blood to check for metabolic disorders. They’ll also monitor your child’s bilirubin levels for the first few days, as excessively high numbers increase the risk of brain damage and cerebral palsy.

3. Get Little Bodies Moving
The attitudes your child develops toward exercise when young often stick with them for life. Tragically, nearly 20% of American children qualify as obese, and shedding the excess pounds only gets harder with age.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), infants should participate in multiple physical activities throughout the day. Those aged 1 and 2 need 180 minutes – three full hours – of movement. 3-year-olds and 4-year-olds should do the same, with at least an hour’s participation in moderate to vigorous activity. Kids 5 and up need at least one hour of moderate to physical movement daily.

4. Introduce Them to Veggies

Your child’s tastebuds develop young. Feeding them a steady diet of processed foods and sweet treats – even as rewards – can set them up for disordered eating patterns later in life. It’s okay to allow the occasional cookie, but now’s the time to set the expectation that veggies are tasty, too.

Treat your child’s dinner plate as a clock, reserving a half-hour for fresh, green, and colourful stuff. If your child proves resistant, you could sneak some zucchini in their dessert – but it’s better if they voluntarily devour their broccoli.

5. Foster Healthy Socialization
Human beings are innately social. Your child’s interactions with others shape the way they’ll get along later in life. Expose them to as many positive socialization activities as possible.

Playdates are a wonderful way to encourage same-age friendship. It also gives you an adult to chat with – a welcome break from toddler-talk.

6. Ensure Adequate Sleep
Sleep is crucial to your baby’s mental and physical development. Fortunately, infants need quite a lot – giving their parents needed time to rest, too.

Some newborns sleep anywhere from 18 to 19 hours a day, although most get 16 to 18. However, don’t think mom and dad have life on Easy Street. Babies still wake up every few hours to nurse, meaning even parents with restful kiddos will get to enjoy 3 a.m. feedings.

Start Your Baby’s Health Off on the Right Foot
As a parent, you want to do everything you can to safeguard your child’s well-being for life. The habits they acquire regarding diet, exercise, and sleep while young stay with them as they age. Follow the six tips above to start your baby’s health off on the right foot and enjoy watching them grow and thrive.

*Collaborative Post