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Health : Smarter Baby
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Pregnancy Diet Tips for a Developing Baby


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December 16, 2008


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Overview
When you’re pregnant, your baby’s sole source of nourishment is you. What you eat dramatically impacts his growth, weight, brain and organ development. While you need about 300 extra calories a day to help sustain your pregnancy (more if you’re expecting multiples), don’t use them up on junk food. Make the most of every morsel so you and your baby can thrive.
List
Protein: To foster your baby’s cell growth and blood supply, eat lean cuts of red meat or poultry, eggs, peanut butter and beans.
Carbohydrates: Found primarily in starchy foods like breads, pastas, cereals and potatoes as well as fruits and vegetables, carbohydrates give both you and your baby energy. Many are also fortified with folic acid, a vitamin that helps prevent certain devastating birth defects, like spina bifida. Your obstetrician may recommend a folic acid supplement.
Calcium: You know calcium is important to keep your teeth and bones healthy. The same is true for your developing baby. Calcium also helps your baby’s nerves and muscles form. Yogurt, milk, cheese, spinach, salmon and sardines (munch on the bones, too); all are all good sources of the mineral. Look for calcium-fortified foods, including juices, breads and waffles.
Iron: This vital nutrient helps your baby develop his red blood cells. Iron-rich foods include red meats, spinach, fortified cereals and breads.
Vitamins A Through D: Vitamin A, found in carrots and other orange-colored fruits and vegetables, is important for healthy skin and eye development. Vitamin C—found in citrus fruits, tomatoes and fortified juices—helps build teeth and gums. The B vitamins, such as B6 and B12, are important for the formation of red blood cells and are found in meats, fish and some grains. Vitamin D—available in fortified milk, dairy products and grains—helps your baby absorb calcium.
Fat: Go ahead, bite into a big juicy steak washed down with a glass of whole milk. Fat gives you and your baby energy. Just don’t overdo; keep fat intake to about 30 percent of your daily calories.
Resources
http://www.kidshealth.org: Kids Health for more healthy tips on what to eat when you’re pregnant

————
Donna Christiano is an award-winning free-lance journalist who has written extensively on women’s and children’s health for many consumer magazines, including Woman’s Day, Parents, Weight Watchers and others. Donna has also served on the staffs of Glamour and Bride’s magazines. She tries to live a healthy and strong life in New Jersey with her husband and two children.


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The Importance of Nutrition in a Babys Intelligence


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December 16, 2008


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It’s a no-brainer: your baby’s body—from her head to her toes—is fueled by the food you put in it. Give her brain development a head start by offering the kind of healthy foods she needs to get and stay smart.
Facts: In the first few months of life, your baby will subsist on milk, be it breast milk or formula. So giving him the most nutritious milk available is key. If you’re breast-feeding, make sure your diet is rich in proteins (for example, lean meats, milk and eggs), essential fatty acids (like omega-3s, found in salmon and fortified eggs), iron (good sources are meats and iron-fortified cereals) and carbohydrates, like whole grains. If you’re formula-feeding your baby, choose an iron-fortified one. Once he’s on solid foods, look for iron-fortified baby cereals and baby foods with pureed meats, vegetables and fruits. Low-iron diets in kids have been associated with slower learning.
Time Frame: Most of your baby’s brain development takes place in the first 3 years of her life. While good nutrition will be important her whole life, the early years are an especially critical time.
Theories/Speculation: In terms of nutritional value, breast milk is considered optimal to formula. Breast milk naturally contains the essential fatty acids DHA and ARA—important for brain development. In one study published in the “Archives of Disease in Childhood: Fetal and Maternal,” children breast-fed for 8 months or longer scored 6 points higher on verbal IQ tests than those who weren’t breast-fed.
Misconceptions: While you may prefer to feed your baby organic baby foods to reduce his exposure to pesticides and chemical additives, be aware that the American Academy of Pediatrics has not found organic baby food to be better for babies than regular baby food.
Resources
http://www.pregnancyandbaby.com: She Knows: Pregnancy and Baby for more information on nutrition and its relationship to intelligence
http://www.cfsan.fda.gov: Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition
————

Donna Christiano is an award-winning free-lance journalist who has written extensively on women’s and children’s health for many consumer magazines, including Woman’s Day, Parents, Weight Watchers and others. Donna has also served on the staffs of Glamour and Bride’s magazines. She tries to live a healthy and strong life in New Jersey with her husband and two children.


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Important Foods for a Babys Brain Development


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December 16, 2008


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Your baby relies on you for just about everything—including proper nutrition. Since the brain is only a fraction of its size at birth (in fact, its size triples in the first year of life), what you choose to feed your infant can have a huge impact on how her brain grows, develops and works. While your baby’s pediatrician is your best source on nutritional guidelines for a growing infant, here is some food for thought.

List:
Breast Milk: Opt to breast-feed your baby if possible—the longer, the better. Breast milk contains the perfect balance of calories, carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Fortified infant formulas are good, but breast is still best. In a study published in the “Archives of Disease in Childhood: Fetal and Maternal,” babies who were breast-fed for at least 8 months had verbal IQ scores 6 points higher than nonbreast-fed infants.

Fats: The brain is about 60 percent fat, and the better, higher-quality fats you feed it, the better it will develop. Make sure your baby has a diet rich in fats like DHA and omega-3 fatty acids, found in breast milk, fortified formulas, meat, eggs, soy products and seafood. Your pediatrician can give you information on which fish to avoid, due to mercury content.

Complex Carbohydrates: Your baby’s brain will need energy to get up and running. Feed her complex carbohydrates—which release sugar slowly into the bloodstream—like whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables to keep her brain powered.

Iron: Iron is essential for carrying oxygen to the blood, where it then circulates to all parts of the body, including the brain. While babies are generally born with iron stores that last through the first 6 months of life, they’ll need to get iron from their diets or supplements after that. Iron-fortified baby cereals are a great way to get the nutrient into your baby as you introduce solid foods. Also look for iron in meats, eggs, leafy greens, tuna, salmon and tofu.

————
Donna Christiano is an award-winning free-lance journalist who has written extensively on women’s and children’s health for many consumer magazines, including Woman’s Day, Parents, Weight Watchers and others. Donna has also served on the staffs of Glamour and Bride’s magazines. She tries to live a healthy and strong life in New Jersey with her husband and two children.


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How Does a Babys Brain Develop


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December 12, 2008


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The process of how a baby’s brain develops remains largely a mystery, even to leading scientists and researchers. However, we do know that a baby’s basic brain cells are present at birth, while most of the connections are made as the baby progresses through infancy and early childhood.

Brain Development
The development of a baby’s brain develops is activity-dependent. At around age 3, a baby’s brain cells have formed most of their connections. Some connections will continue to be refined through experience, while others will not. The connections that a child continually and repetitively uses will gain strength, while those that are used less frequently will fade. This is called synaptic pruning, and although it may seem drastic and frightening, it actually helps the brain to work more efficiently. Without synaptic pruning, a child may have difficulty simulating and processing all the information she receives, making it difficult or even impossible to walk, talk or possibly see.

The Brainstem
The area of the brain located near the neck, between the top of the spinal cord and the base of the brain, is called the brainstem. This region is the most highly developed at birth. A newborn is born with various reflexes—including crying, startling, sucking and rooting—and these are controlled in the brainstem. The brainstem also controls such vital functions as breathing, blood pressure and heart rate. It takes years for a baby’s brain to fully develop, but the functions that are most important to life are ready at the moment of birth.

The Cerebral Cortex
The cerebral cortex is an area of the brain that is responsible for our conscious thoughts, feelings, memories and voluntary actions. This area is immature at birth. Neurons are present when we are born, but they are not connected well. After birth the baby goes through what is called the exuberant period, which refers to an immense surge in the creation of connections—synapses—within the cerebral cortex. The cerebral cortex is a fairly large part of the brain that contains the visual cortex, temporal lobe, frontal lobe and other regions. These regions go through the exuberant period at varying times; the baby shows signs of this period with improved vision and by developing a pincer grasp and strong attachments to parents and caregivers. Until the child is between the ages of 4 and 8 years, this exuberant period of massive growth of cell connections continues in all areas of the cerebral cortex. It is not until middle elementary through beginning adolescence that the exuberant period starts to fade.

We all want to help our children reach their full potential. Exposing your baby to many experiences and environments rich in language, love and exploration is the best way to enhance your baby’s developing brain.


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Soothing Baby Music Ideas


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December 12, 2008


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Colicky, anxious or stressed infants will calm down naturally when they hear soft and smoothing music. Music can be used to improve a baby’s mood, increase focus and encourage deep relaxation. Many parents use music to lull a baby to sleep at night, but soothing music can be used at any time of the day to reduce anxiety or tension and slow down the baby’s heart rate.

Sing Lullabies or Nursery Rhymes
Infants respond best to a human voice, and singing lullabies, nursery rhymes and hymns will help them relax and become comfortable in their environment. Most babies respond to this type of soothing music within a few minutes and may even take part in the activity by gently rocking back and forth, closing their eyes to enjoy the experience and showing facial expressions that indicate happiness. You can also record yourself singing lullabies and play them at various intervals throughout the day.

Turn on a Musical Nightlight
A nightlight that projects colorful images against a wall and plays music can initiate restfulness and peacefulness. These lights can be set up in a baby’s room to illuminate the wall or ceiling around the crib and help baby focus on different objects. The combination of lights and music can be very soothing for babies, distracting them from stress or anxiety and lulling them into a deep state of rest or sleep.

Play Nature Sound CDs
The relaxing sounds of nature can reduce stress in babies and adults alike, so playing a nature CD can induce a state of relaxation and improve overall well-being. This type of music is also beneficial during diaper changes or feeding time when the baby becomes fussy or irritable. The sounds can distract the baby long enough to proceed with the activity with little or no fuss.

Play Classical Music
Classical music has a certain rhythm and tone that can grab a baby’s attention and distract him from crying. Classical music can also be very comforting and may help the baby relax and calm down after a difficult day.

Play Musical Instruments
Toys designed to look like real musical instruments can improve an infant’s motor skills, and some of these toys also emit songs and sounds that can be very soothing. Allow the baby to play with toys that play tunes and notes when pressed, shaken or pushed so that she can develop motor skills along with auditory skills.

Sabah Karimi is an experienced freelance writer who enjoys writing about lifestyle, parenting, and childhood education topics. Sabah runs a web copywriting and marketing consultancy business in Orlando, Florida.


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Music & Babys Health


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December 12, 2008


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Infants can recognize music, noise and sounds at a very early age, and introducing them to different types of music offers several health and developmental benefits. Soothing music can relax babies and make them more comfortable with their environment, and different musical notes and tunes can also develop auditory system and hearing skills.

Significance: Infants can process music as early as the last few months in the womb, and they will respond to different types of sounds by the age of 6 months. Introducing babies to different types of music from birth to 6 months of age allows them to develop their listening and attention skills, and they will learn to differentiate between songs and voices.

Function: Babies feel more secure when they hear lullabies and slow-paced music with a steady beat at regular intervals throughout the day. Any music with a light tempo and rhythm can help the baby settle down when stressed, reduce anxiety and encourage a happy and positive mood. Even though babies respond to various types of music in different ways, the most soothing sound a baby can hear is that of a human voice—preferably the parent’s.

Types: The most beneficial types of music for baby include classical music to improve focus and concentration; rhythmic music to reduce anxiety, tension and stress; soothing lullabies and melodies play pokies for free online to Online Pokies encourage sleep and relaxation; and upbeat, light-hearted and fun music to encourage positive emotions. Regular exposure to certain types of music can teach infants to differentiate between different sounds and stimulate their senses.

Benefits: Music can be used to change moods, encourage babies to go to sleep and help with overall health and well-being. It may also play an important role in developing neural pathways that promote intelligence, creativity and cultivate natural curiosity. Babies may be more likely to engage in singing, dancing and moving to music in their toddler years if they were introduced to a variety of stimulating music and activities at an early age. Rocking babies to the rhythm of the music or moving their hands and feet to the beat of different types of music can also improve their motor skills and muscle coordination during later stages of development.

Considerations: Premature babies may be easily over-stimulated by certain noises and sounds, so parents may need to start with very soothing, low-volume music and build the tolerance level of the child over time. Relaxing music such as lullaby tunes and soothing, meditative music can slow down the baby’s heartbeat and encourage a relaxation response. Fast, loud and intense music can provoke anxiety and feelings of fear, and may be too much for your baby to process.


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Warning: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /var/www/vhosts/smarterbaby.info/httpdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

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Warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected the timezone 'UTC' for now, but please set date.timezone to select your timezone. in /var/www/vhosts/smarterbaby.info/httpdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

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How Important Is Protein to a Developing Baby?


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December 12, 2008


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Benefits of Protein During Pregnancy
Since a developing baby depends on his mother’s diet for all of his nutritional needs, the expectant mother must eat a nourishing diet to support healthy growth and development of her baby. Protein is one of several essential nutritional requirements during pregnancy because it provides the amino acids needed for adequate bone and muscle development. Eating enough protein is essential for healthy development of new cells in the placenta and maternal tissues and encourages healthy blood production. Protein consumption during pregnancy has also been linked to a lower the risk of neonatal death and the occurrence of certain birth defects.

Consequences of a Lack of Protein in an Expectant Mother’s Diet
A lack of protein in an expectant mother’s diet can lead to a number of health problems in both the mother and the developing baby. A protein deficient diet during pregnancy can make the expectant mother feel weak or light-headed and make it difficult to manage day-to-day tasks without feeling tired or fatigued. For the developing baby, the effects of a lack of protein in the diet include poor muscle and joint development, poor bone development, muscle or bone deformities, miscarriage, brain damage and a high risk of birth defects.

Healthy Sources of Protein During Pregnancy
Experts encourage expectant mothers to eat a minimum of 70 grams of protein per day, and this can be derived from several sources. Foods that contain a significant amount of protein and can be eaten as part of a well-balanced diet include salmon, poultry, egg whites, peanut butter, soy butter, tofu, soy milk, beans, legumes and other lean meats. Protein shakes and protein bars are nutritional supplements that may help some women meet their minimum protein requirements. These can be made from milk products or soy products and be eaten as snacks or as a small meal replacement.

Protein That Can Be Harmful for a Developing Baby
Some types of protein should be avoided to reduce the risk of miscarriage and birth defects. Avoid these food throughout pregnancy and during lactation: soft, unpasteurized cheese; raw fish; shark, swordfish and other types of fish with high levels of mercury; unpasteurized milk; and processed meat such as deli-style meat. While these foods are high in protein, they are also prone to developing bacteria, which can lead to several food-borne illnesses. They are best avoided throughout pregnancy and during recovery.

Resources:
Eating well during pregnancy from Kids Health
Good sources of protein during pregnancy from Pregnancy-Calendars.net

Sabah Karimi is an experienced freelance writer who enjoys writing about lifestyle, parenting, and childhood education topics. Sabah runs a web copywriting and marketing consultancy business in Orlando, Florida.


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Brain Development Occur in the Womb


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December 12, 2008


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A baby’s brain is magnificent. The rate at which it develops is astronomical from the moment conception happens through the time of birth. The brain is the life source of the body. It communicates messages and tells the body what to do. The brain controls everything from a baby’s thinking skills to his perceptions. For the body to work properly, the brain undergoes significant development and changes throughout the entire gestational period.

First Trimester: During the first trimester, the baby’s brain structure, called the neural tube, begins to make rapid changes to form the spinal cord and brain. At just 3 weeks after conception, the brain cells are developed enough to send effective messages to each other. At this point, brain cells are multiplying at a rate of 250,000 cells per minute. No wonder your baby sleeps all the time.

Second Trimester: During the second trimester, the rate at which the brain cells have been multiplying slows down. The brain begins to organize itself and starts to form the individual systems such as language, movement, vision, hearing and other primary systems in the body.

Third Trimester: By the end of the third trimester, the baby’s brain cells have matured significantly. The connections between the brain cells have developed enough to where there is effective and rapid communication. As a result, the baby’s nervous system has matured and developed. But even though the brain develops at such an amazing pace in the womb, it is not totally developed at birth. Many of the connections that will help your baby develop crucial skills are created within the first 3 months after birth. This is why constant interaction and responsiveness with your baby is so important.

Nutrition: For your baby’s brain to develop normally, you must eat a nutritionally balanced diet during pregnancy. One of the main vitamins essential to prenatal brain development is omega-3 fatty acid. This is found primarily in flaxseeds, walnuts, salmon, shrimp and halibut. Folic acid is also important because it helps prevent spina bifida and other neural tube defects during pregnancy. Folic acid is found in leafy green vegetables, whole-grain breads, beans, fish and orange fruits. Check with your doctor about which fish are safe to eat during pregnancy.

Prevention: Using toxic substances such as alcohol, nicotine and other illegal substances can be harmful to a developing fetus and may interfere with normal brain development, especially during the first trimester.

Heidi Gonzales is a midwife, childbirth educator, doula, American Heart Association BLS instructor, author and editor for the Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association e-mag.
She has attended over 60 births in Louisiana and has helped over 150 families through birth consultations. She volunteers as a childbirth educator at a pregnancy crisis center in Louisiana and also as an online career mentor


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