The greatest wish of all of expectant parents is that they be blessed with a healthy child.  They make this wish because they know that good health is the foundation upon which a fulfilling and productive life is built.  While most children are born perfectly healthy, the culture that surrounds them once they emerge from the womb does little to help the child sustain his gift of health.

Within hours of a baby’s birth he is given his first vaccine – which is filled with dangerous and controversial ingredients.  Adding to the potential for ailments is the fact that, while approximately 70% of mothers initially choose to breastfeed their infants, only about 30% will continue to once the first few weeks or months have passed – and babies lose a wonderful opportunity to further bolster their immunity, establish healthy intestinal flora, and receive the plethora of developmental and neurological benefits that only mother’s milk can provide.  Then there’s food – processed, pre-packaged, nutritionally devoid, antibiotic and growth hormone laden dairy, meat and poultry, and last – but certainly not least – our beloved American staple – FAST FOOD!

There are reasons why we make these less than optimal choices, and they are valid ones.  We fear the horrid diseases that vaccine manufacturers profess to protect our precious children from.  After giving birth, Mom must return to work as soon as possible in order to keep the nuclear family’s finances in the black, and nursing just seems impossible.  We are so incredibly busy living our lives and running around in every direction, as we chase the elusive American Dream, that the last thing on our minds is making a fresh, home-cooked meal to serve to our families each evening. . .and who’s home at dinner time, anyway?

Most adults realize that 90% of the health, or lack thereof, they experience is due to one thing – their behavior.  The same holds true for kids, but they cannot choose their behavior as infants and small children – we choose for them.  If you are pregnant, raising small children, dealing with the challenges of guiding adolescents and teenagers, or any combination of these, know that behavior is the KEY to insuring they are healthy.  A better health insurance plan, a new job, more money, or a nicer house in a nicer city still won’t change how you live your day-to-day life – but you can change your behavior in an instant wherever you are and through whatever you are experiencing.  As is the case with all change, the best way to approach lifestyle alterations that relate to your children’s health is to start small and slow. . .change one little thing at a time, adjust to it, except it as the new way, and then move on to the next small change.  Before you know it, you’ll be able to sit down and look at the behavior of your family and clearly see that you are all living a HEALTHY LIFESTYLE!

Here is a listing of areas to focus on when making healthy choices for your children:

Start learning all you can about vaccines – question your child’s Pediatrician about their potential dangers and effectiveness, and do your own research as well.  Keep in mind something that one of my patients says when she is faced with a vaccinating decision, “You can always stick ‘em tomorrow. . .but you can’t unstick ‘em.”

If at all possible, choose to breastfeed your baby.  There is simply no way around it, your body knows what it is doing – man in all his wisdom will never be able to improve upon nature’s perfection.  While you are still pregnant, try to make the changes in your life and schedule that will enable you to successfully breastfeed your infant. . .it’s only for a short period of time, but will provide a strong foundation for your child’s health for his or her entire lifetime.

You know what to do when it comes to food.  Circle the better choice:

APPLE                       -or-                  FRENCH FRIES

WATER                      -or-                  SODA

CORN CHIPS           -or-                  COOKIES

BROCOLLI                -or-                  BOLOGNA

You know what choices to make, just make them!  When kids are REALLY hungry they will not choose to starve.  Start slowly, try something like baby carrots and ranch flavored salad dressing for a dip. . .let small kids make shapes out of the bright orange carrot sticks and get messy with the yummy dip – they may never want to eat a boring ‘ole pre-packaged cookie ever again!  Don’t make assumptions by saying, “Oh, my kid will never eat that!”. . .give change a chance.

Of course, I am a Chiropractor, and would be remiss if I did not express the extreme importance of having a healthy spine.  The best time to start making sure your child’s spine is in alignment is during the growing years.  If children are in need of spinal correction, treatment is generally successful very quickly.  Our office is also constantly campaigning to let new parents know that every newborn baby should have a spinal check-up.  The birth process, especially births by cesarean section, can be extremely traumatic for a baby – as well as Mom! – and his spinal alignment could be compromised during his birth.  Dr. Deborah MacDonald is certified in Maternity and Pediatric Chiropractic and is a member of the International Pediatric Chiropractic Association.  She treats all our expectant Mom’s and their beautiful, new babies – ensuring that each is as healthy as can be during this wondrous time in both their lives.  We have an open, family friendly office – complete with a play area right by Mom or Dad (and we have wicked cool stickers!)  Give us a call, our new patient consultations and spinal screenings are always free!


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