“You actually spend time with your kids?!”

I was recently at my doctors office with both my daughters. The receptionist wanted to show them the dancing snowman she had on her desk. It was really sweet to watch my girls in awe of this magical snowman.

Then she said to me that the girls behaved so well and she could tell that someone actually spends time with them!

I was shocked. What did she mean?

She said it was obvious when she saw the children where the parent doesn’t spend much time with their child. Language is not as developed and behaviour is a bit worse.

I have been doing some research for my upcoming book. So I wanted to look into this further.

We all assume that spending time with our children is a good idea. But how much? What do we do during that time? What are the benefits?

  • talking with children helps develop language skills and stimulates brain development
  • the more words your baby is exposed to the better they are prepared to read on their own
  • children who were read to as newborns have a bigger vocabulary and more advanced math skills
  • the number of words a baby hears is directly related to her language skills
  • babies who’s parents spoke to them a lot had higher test scores at age 3 than those who weren’t as verbal
  • reading to them teaches them about emotions early on
  • reading shows her that reading is fun and not a chore, she will develop lifelong love of learning

Steps You Can Take:

  1. Do a Mommy Cooking Show – when you are in the kitchen and your baby is in her high chair, face her towards you and describe everything you’re doing. It will help her vocabulary and you’ll be spending time together!
  2. Visit your Local Library – I know I get bored of the books we have at home. They might too! If you keep switching up the books, this keeps her brain growing and learning new words, shapes, colours and emotions.
  3. Discuss the Emotional Situations in Books – studies have found that babies aged 19-21 months know the difference between right and wrong. Use their story books to explain different situations e.g. how to treat one another, feeling compassion for the sad elephant and happiness towards the animals playing nicely together. This gives her context to real life situations so she will start to develop empathy and a good conscience.

I’d love to hear about your favourite books!

One of my favourites is “Sometimes I like to Curl Up in a Ball” by by Vicki Churchill and Charles Fuge. It has lots of good fun and emotions, about playing fair, not always winning the race, and coming home for a snuggle at night. 

Dr. Whitney Young, ND. Super Baby Coach.

I’d love for you to join me in my moms group on Facebook called Guiltless Grace – how to raise a happy, healthy, & hearty kid without the Mommy Guilt. We share lots of things about food, exercise, play and overall raising healthy kids.

Resources:

www.parents.com/baby/development/intellectual/benefits-of-reading-to-your-newborn

Leaving the Kids & Letting Go

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On my second last night in Hawaii, Stephanie, the beautiful Australian wife of one of my business coaches, asked if I missed the girls and then she said, “it’s ok if you say no.” We both laughed out loud. The permission she gave me was simple but so great.

She, being a mom of 3 totally understood that it was ok to have your time away from the kids. That enjoying myself, didn’t make me appreciate them less or that I was a bad mom. I didn’t feel regretful about my life or them in it. But I was just enjoying my time away from them.

I had permission to just appreciate my “me time.” That I had the opportunity to go away and do something just for me. To enjoy the sun, sand, friends, work, and totally immerse myself in my own needs. That it was okay to let go of taking care of my little people and of taking care of others in my practice just for a little while.

For these 10 days, I could just concentrate on what I wanted in the immediate moments of wanting sleep, snacks, to dance, to swim, to cry, to remember, to laugh.

For these 10 days, I could also concentrate on what I want for the future. Who am I, what do I want? What do I want for the girls? For our life together? For my work and my impact on the world? To “dream big, little pig,” as one of Jillian’s bedtime stories says.

I made the conscious and real decision to use my time away to become refreshed, reenergized and refocused.

3 Tips for Leaving the Kids and Letting Go.

  1. Remember they are in good but different hands. Grandma, Auntie or Daddy won’t do it the exact same way as you would. They might feed them food you normally wouldn’t or put them to bed later than you would, but your kids will be just fine. And they might even have good memories from it. I remember when my parents went away to New Zealand when my little sister and I were young. My grandparents took us to McDonalds for pancake breakfast. I’d never done that before and now I have a special memory to treasure.
  2. Give yourself permission to enjoy yourself. You left for a reason. To visit a friend, attend a conference, go on vacation. So be present and enjoy yourself. Your baby won’t have a better time knowing that you’re miserable. They don’t even understand the concept of time and how long you’re going to be away! So, give yourself permission to have fun. And savour each bite of every uninterrupted meal.
  3. Let go of the Mommy Guilt. It surrounds us in every area of our lives. We feel guilty for working and putting them in daycare. Or if we stay home with them, we feel guilty for not giving them the social experiences of other kids. We feel guilty for not putting them in as many activities as others do or not feeding them all organic food. We’ve gotta put aside the mommy guilt. It’s not worth it. I decided before we left, that I wasn’t going to feel guilty and that I was going to enjoy myself. My family made sacrifices to take care of the kids for me while I was gone, so I chose to honour them and be thankful and really soak up my work-cation.

So, go ahead, book that girls night away, go on a romantic getaway or even an afternoon away as the first “baby step” away from your baby. You deserve it and your kids will be happy when Mommy comes back happy and refreshed.

Talk soon,

Whitney

 

Whitney is a Naturopathic Doctor and Superbaby Coach. She sees moms and babies in her local practice and via Skype. She also is the creator of the solid food introduction course: The 30 Day Super Baby Program

The Breastfed Brain

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I’ve been doing some baby research for my upcoming book and I’m focusing on brain development this week.  I found a great study that I wanted to share with you.

Brown University actually used baby-friendly MRI testing to look at the baby’s brain development over time and how it related to breastfeeding.

Breastfed babies had 20-30% more white matter than babies who were formula fed.

The white matter helps the brain communicate with itself to different parts of the brain. It includes the myelin which insulates the nerve fibres to allow for the electrical signals to go quickly.

The growth in these areas of the brain that deal with language, emotional function, and cognition.

What they also found was that even just a little bit of breastmilk helped improve the brain function. Exclusively breastfeeding had the best results followed by a combination of formula and breastmilk. Just formula had the least amount of growth.

Does this mean that your baby is doomed if they just got formula?

Not at all! There are so many other ways to improve your baby’s brain development including all the love and care and attention you are giving them. Maybe those breastfed babies have a slight advantage while we are creating The Super Baby, but building a Super Baby has many aspects.

So let go of the mommy guilt if you could just do formula and breastfeeding didn’t work out for you.

And if you breastfeed – keep going! The longer the better, the study found. Do it for as long as it works for you, your baby and your life.

Talk soon!

Dr. Whitney

 

Fitness vs Fatness

Shifting the Focus From Fatness to Fitness

I was at a wedding where they had a belly dancer perform for us. She was not a small woman – definitely carried more around the middle than most women consider desirable. She danced for at least a half hour with no breaks, and it was incredible to watch what she could do with her abs!

As we were watching this woman, another health professional said to me, “I would have expected her to have a six-pack.” I looked at her with my head cocked, in the “I don’t understand” position. She proceeded with her explanation, “She looks so strong is all.” I said “She is. That’s incredible”.

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This showed me how deeply engrained are the social stigmas we have about people who carry extra weight, even amongst those who theoretically should know better. It is a myth that one cannot be fat AND fit. This belly dancer had more core strength and stamina than any of us! And she performed her routine with grace and softness.

Dove’s research revealed that 80% of women and girls had cancelled important life events (like birthday parties, trying out for a team, family dinners, holidays) due to low body esteem.

We need to create an environment where children and teenagers are not afraid of being teased. Because it’s stopping them from participating in the very activities that lead to health.

If our young people focus on their size instead of their health, they may get discouraged when their body doesn’t change the way they had hoped or intended, and they may stop being active because “it’s not working.”

That sense of shame and failure may have them retreating for comfort through food, or retreating to the isolation of their homes or online activities. Then the all-or-nothing dieting cycle begins, and a lifetime of dieting, shaming, and failure is not healthy.

The diet and fitness industry (and, sadly, the health care system as well) has been telling parents that we’re in a war against obesity (which, by the way, isn’t working).

My mission, and why I started The Diet Rebellion, is to help parents understand that the casualty of this war is their children’s mental health.

We are at a very important fork in the road. Let’s lead parents down the less-traveled path. This new path teaches us that:

  • Parents who discuss healthy eating with their kids without the conversation being about weight, raise teenagers who are less likely to develop eating disorders or obesity.[i]
  • Parents who don’t restrict foods raise teenagers who are less likely to develop discorded eating.[ii]
  • Parents who role model healthy eating behaviours and lifestyle choices themselves, for the sake of health and not weight loss, raise kids who are more likely to have a healthy lifestyle.[iii]

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This new path allows our children to achieve health at any size. It allows us to teach our kids that if they want to prevent diabetes, they don’t have to lose weight; they can do that by achieving better fitness and by participating in fitness because their bodies are amazing. Just like the belly dancer, they can be incredibly fit in a large body.

When we make food and fitness fun and enjoyable, we encourage lifelong participation. It creates healthy lifestyle strategies and connects children more with how their bodies feel and less about how their bodies look.

Until next time,

Dr. Kerri

 

[i] JAMA Pediatr. 2013 Aug 1;167(8):746-53. doi: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.78.

[ii] Int J Eat Disord. 2014 Apr;47(3):310-4. doi: 10.1002/eat.22189. Epub 2013 Sep 18.

[iii] Br J Nutr. 2008 Feb;99 Suppl 1:S22-5. doi: 10.1017/S0007114508892471.

 

 

Baby Food Basics Workshop

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Hi Mama,

I’m at Serenity Birth Studio again Thursday March 31st 1-2pm to do the Baby Food Basics Workshop.

$5 or $2 with a food bank donation.

Feel free to bring your baby and learn when to start foods, what to start with and how to do it.

Preregistration is required by clicking here to visit Serenity’s website.

I look forward to seeing you there!

Dr. Whitney Young, ND

 

Baby Food Workshop

Feed their futureHi there,
I wanted to share with you the news of our first ever Advanced Baby Foods & Beyond class. This is for moms and dads who have started to introduce foods but want more info. It’s perfect if your little one is 3-12 months old.

Baby Food Workshop Details:

BABY FOOD & BEYOND
Feed their Future from Milk to Meals
Thursday March 3rd 9am-12pm at Serenity Birth Studio in Barrie.

In this workshop you will learn:

BABY FOOD BASICS
– what to feed them, what order and how to do it
POOP PATROL
– the steps to take if they get constipated
THE 5 D’s OF ALLERGIES
– what the science says about developing food allergies
THE PEANUT PLAN
– the 3 steps to take to avoid developing peanut allergies
CRUSH CRADLE CAP
– 5 steps to beautiful baby heads
IRON INFO
– does my baby need iron?

Cost $47 +HST. Click here to register https://rootedinhealth.leadpages.co/baby-food-and-beyond/

What to bring:
Paper, pen, water bottle, layered clothing (in case it’s too hot or too cold for you), snacks (I’ll provide some too) and your baby.

Yes, babies are welcome!

To register visit: https://rootedinhealth.leadpages.co/baby-food-and-beyond/
Email whitney@rootedinhealth.ca with any questions

I look forward to seeing you there!

Dr. Whitney Young, ND