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8 Things You Need To Worry About When It Comes To Your Child’s GrowthThese factors can have a positive impact so your child reaches their ideal height and weight.by Grace Bautista .
The first five years of a child's life is a crucial window of opportunity for parents to provide optimal nutrition and care. Research shows that 60% of a child’s growth happens within this time frame.
“Slowed growth is not just a physical issue. It also impacts learning and development in childhood,” explains Dr. Jose Dimaano, medical affairs director for Abbott’s nutrition business in Asia Pacific, during Pediasure’s launch of Growth Watch, an online resource that provides measurement tools that can aid parents in supporting their child’s growth.
Is my child growing normally?
Genes do play a role in determining a person’s height, but other factors that affect growth and development can also have a positive impact. Here are 8 factors you can focus on that will help your child achieve their ideal height and weight.
The first 1,000 days of life, starting from the time the baby is conceived until 24 months of age, are crucial to a child’s development. A mother’s diet, overall health, and experiences during the approximately 270 days of pregnancy may influence the child’s risk of stunting, obesity, allergies, diabetes, cardiovascular, and skeletal diseases in later life.
Adequate prenatal care, including a healthy diet and nutritional supplements as well as timely intervention for any maternal health issues, is vital to your baby’s growth.CONTINUE READING BELOWRecommended Videos
Breast milk is the most natural and complete food you can give your baby during the first 6 months to help them grow, gain weight, develop cognitively and gain immunity from diseases caused by pathogens that are lurking around us. The World Health Organization encourages exclusive breastfeeding during the first 6 months of life because this protects a baby from infections, specifically gastrointestinal infections, which can drain the nutrients from a baby’s body and therefore lead to stunting.ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
Hugs and nurturing touch
Aside from doing wonders for a child’s brain development, hugs also boost their health and immunity. Nurturing touch, including skin to skin contact from the time your baby is born, has lifelong benefits to your child’s well-being.
According to UNICEF, skin-to-skin helps newborns adapt to life outside the womb. Skin to skin allows the mother to transfer her warmth and friendly bacteria to her baby and gives the child protection against infection.
Naturally, a healthy child will grow faster than a sickly child. Hug and touch your child often; it is an amazingly simple and inexpensive way to foster your child’s health and growth.
Vaccination is essential to ensure your child’s health and protect them from life-threatening diseases. Studies have found that immunization helps healthy growth and development. Make sure they get their vaccines within the schedule recommended by the Department of Health and the World Health Organization.
The body releases growth hormones during sleep, so it is important that infants and growing children get enough sleep everyday. The Sleep Foundation recommends the following sleep duration (combined hours of nap and nighttime sleep) per day:
- newborns - 14 to 17 hours
- infants (4 to 11 months) - 12 to 15 hours
- toddlers (1 to 2 years old) - 11 to 14 hours
- preschool children - 10 to 13 hours
- school-aged children (6 to 13 years old) - 9 to 11 hours
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, approximately 25% to 50% of preschoolers experience sleep problems. Each child’s sleep requirement is different, but if your child appears to have sleep problems, talk to your pediatrician, especially if you see signs of sleep deprivation.ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
At six month, WHO advises the introduction of natural, healthy food to supplement your baby’s diet. By the toddler years, it is ideal that a child has already learned to eat and enjoy food from different food groups.
By the preschool years, children will need more nutrient-dense food to support their growth — grains, fruits, vegetables, fish and meats, eggs and dairy. A common problem observed among Filipino families is that meals tend to be unbalanced with an abundance of carbohydrates, and lacking in protein, vegetables, fats, zinc and iron — all important nutrients for supporting growth and immunity. This could lead to micronutrient deficiency and impede a child’s growth.
Physical play is essential to a child’s learning and development and is important for building healthy bones and muscles. Fortunately, children do not need much encouragement to do physical play because that is natural to them. Toddlers and preschool kids naturally want to run, jump, climb, dance, and even imitate exercise moves if they see their parents doing them.
Parents can support physical play by providing the child a safe environment to be active. If your space permits, try doing some playtime out in the sun for a few minutes each day. This will do wonders for your child’s growth, health, and emotional well-being.
WHO says 5 to 15 minutes of sun exposure, two or three times each week can give the body healthy levels of vitamin D. Vitamin D increases absorption of calcium and phosphorous, which are important to bone development and immune function.ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
Click here to check if your toddler is hitting the ideal height and weight of a 2-year-old
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