If Your Child Is Sitting Like This, Here’s Why You Need to Stop Them Now

My daughter’s just over a year old, so there’s really not much she’s doing “wrong” yet. (Trust me, like all of us, she’ll get there.) If she smacks our family pet, it’s less hostility and more that she doesn’t have full control of her arms. If she throws her food, it’s not an act of insubordination but just her method of communicating that she’s done eating. So, when a family member alerted me to something my child was doing that she needed to stop at once, I was taken aback. Especially because, at that particular moment, she wasn’t stealing her playmate’s toys or eating an expensive coaster as she’s sometimes known to do. She was just sitting there.

Turns out, the way she was sitting — with each leg splayed at her side, knees in front and feet behind, to form a “W” shape — was all kinds of bad.

According to a vast majority of physical therapists, there are several key reasons why:

W-sitting limits core strength because it gives kids a wider base of support. Because they don’t have to engage their abdominal or back muscles in this position, kids often prefer it to more challenging, tiring positions, like with legs in front, at their sides, or crisscrossed.
W-sitting causes muscle tightness, particularly in the legs and hips but also knees and ankles.
W-sitting aggravates neurological issues such as low muscle tone, which means when kids aren’t actively using their muscles, those muscles are floppier and softer and have a harder time holding their bodies upright.
What this all means, most therapists agree, is that prolonged W-sitting throughout childhood can lead to a delayed development in gross motor skills like coordination and balance. For those parents hoping to raise a star athlete, this position’s effect on postural muscles can also be cause for concern.

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Why do some kids sit like this? It’s by far the steadiest way for children of all ages to sit, and aside from that innate tendency to achieve the most stability, it’s also been attributed to time spent in infant carrier devices, like swings, bouncy seats, and car seats.

Seeing as my daughter had graduated from infancy, I was immediately concerned that the damage was already done. I had tried my best to limit her time in her baby swing and the oversize, overpriced ExerSaucer that I had bought under the assumption it was actually good for a baby’s development, but here she was, W-sitting at every turn. I had never noticed it until now.

What can be done? Well, the somewhat alarmist recommendation is to get them to stop doing it immediately — that, whenever you see your child W-sitting, you either physically move their legs into a suitable position (if they’re too young to understand) or tell them to do so.

So, with a watchful eye, I adjusted her legs every time she sat incorrectly, and my husband and I instructed our child’s caretakers to do the same. Occasionally I’d correct her, and it’d be fine, but plenty of times, adjusting one of her legs would make her cry and most times, doing so annoyed her to the point that she was no longer interested in sitting and scooted off to go do something else.

She wasn’t the only one getting fed up, and it had only been a week. I dug a little deeper and found that a few pediatric occupational therapists out there don’t view this seated position as a problem necessarily. There’s not much evidence that shows causation. That is, yes, children who W-sit often have orthopedic issues and muscle tightness. But W-sitting hasn’t been proven to be the cause of those issues, which makes one wonder: could tight hamstrings and hip dysplasia lead to W-sitting, not the other way around?

One such unconvinced therapist, Rachel Coley, happens to be the mother to a W-sitter and maintains it’s perfectly normal for kids to sit this way.

She notes that it’s a simple sign of flexibility and aids in fine motor control because you need to assume the most stable seated position possible when engaging in tasks that require “coordinated, controlled movements of the hands and fingers.” Coley also noted that, for babies in particular, W-sitting provides a convenient, “natural transition” from crawling or kneeling to sitting.

However, based on how strongly most certified therapists feel about W-sitting, I’m not taking any chances. I’m going to keep my eye on it, and I’ll encourage other parents who were unaware of this issue to do the same, especially if they have older kids showing some of the negative side effects. But, if my child is having the time of her life smacking two wooden blocks together, I’m not going to spoil the fun if she happens to be W-sitting.

9 Powerful Ways to Help Your Children Reach Their Goals in the Future

When children grow up they usually begin to make plans for future and choose a profession they would like to get. But at this early age they are not experienced enough to make a good choice and all their dreams may turn out to be futile. Thus, it is important for all parents to respect their children’s decision and direct them onto the right career path. Remember that only your support and involvement will help your child to become successful and happy in their life. Consider the following tips to implement your child’s desires.

1. Plan child`s future in advance
You ought to think of your child’s future in advance in order to avoid unwanted problems later. It would be useful for them to attend special courses when they are at high school. As a result, your children will be able to acquire knowledge and skills that are necessary for a particular occupation. This way they can obtain a degree so that it will be easier to find a job afterwards.

2. Explore the job description
Once you’ve decided on your child’s career, try to examine thoroughly the description of the job. When you know all the requirements you can pick out the most appropriate degree program for your child. The right option will allow them to gain the basic skills that are essential for their profession.

3. Choose the right college
You have to be very careful while selecting the best college for your child as it is a responsible step on the way to their success. First of all this educational establishment should fit his or her abilities and interests. Don’t forget about the job requirements. That is the most crucial factor that influences your choice of the college. It would be reasonable for you to get acquainted with the academic program and subjects that your child will study. Plus, you may also survey the progress of those who graduated from this college.

4. Consider experience requirements
If your children have some experience at a certain field, it will be beneficial for them and they will get more chances to fulfill their career goals. That’s why you need to look for a related job that will enable your child to try his/her proficiency. Perhaps, it’s not the job of their dream, but this is a wonderful opportunity to pave their way to great achievements and succeed in the selected industry. Moreover, your child can study and acquire experience at the same time.

5. Advanced degree programs
Certainly, employers are more interested in those graduates who have a master’s degree. Even if you lack experience, they will accept you eagerly since your degree characterizes you as a highly educated and proficient person. Due to this I recommend you to encourage your child to get a higher degree after their bachelor program. Good education is the main thing they need for further advancements.

6. Check if there are any internships
Today there are lots of colleges that offer internships to their students. So, you should assist your children to apply for them, if possible. This is an excellent way to practice in their favorite sphere of activity. The only thing you may not like about internships is the fact that they don’t pay a salary. However, experience is the most valuable quality for your child.

7. Review salary maximums
Undoubtedly, salary is one of those things that determine our career choice. A perfect job is the one that brings us enjoyment and a high salary as well. Unfortunately, it’s rather difficult to find such job these days. Still you should be aware of the maximum salary your child can earn while being engaged in the selected career. Sure, when they just start to work for the company, you can’t expect huge sums of money. But if they get a promotion, their salary will be increased anyway.

8. Examine the job market
It is impossible to reach the desirable results in a definite industry in case you don’t know how to examine the job market. Parents must teach their children to spot the most profitable regions for their career. Having gained recognition at one place, they can easily switch to a new highly-paid job that will provide prosperity to them.

9. Stay positive
Bear in mind that your emotional state has a great impact on your child. Therefore, you should do your best to cheer them up whatever happens. When children see their parents in a good mood, they will be inspired to attain their aim. Your praise is a splendid way to motivate them to continue their journey. They should be ready for different obstacles on their career path. Failure is not the reason to give up, it’s just a chance to take a new step.

Your child’s happiness and success mostly depend on your encouragement and approval of their dreams. When it comes to their future, you shouldn’t stay aside. It is the responsibility of all parents to help their children find the right way in life and to be near whenever they need. Your support and understanding will make them feel confident and they will reach their goals effortlessly. What do you usually do to inspire your children to fulfill their dreams?

9 Tips on How to Teach Your Child to Swim

Teaching your child to swim can be really difficult. Children, especially young ones, are known to be impatient and annoying when it comes to learning how to swim. If you have a temperamental child and you want them to learn how to swim this summer, check out a few helpful tips on how to teach your child to swim.

1. Safety first
You wouldn’t believe how many parents don’t think about dangerous things that can potentially happen when teaching a child to swim. It’s important that you make sure you have enough space in the ocean or pool to swim, make sure your child always stays hydrated and, of course, healthy. Remember to be aware of dangers of cracked skulls, broken bones and drowning. Also be sure to know standard CPR or have someone who can help.

2. Think of pool toys
Many people think that pool toys like life savers or noodle floats can be distracting, but if you’re having a difficult time with teaching your child to swim, all those pool toys might be very helpful. If you don’t want your child to get turned off from swimming, add some pool toys so your kid can associate swimming with staying active and having fun in the summer.

3. Think of floaties
Okay, not every child likes the idea of wearing floaties, but if your child is excited to wear floaties, consider yourself lucky. Floats are extremely important, especially when you first start teaching your little one to swim, since that’s usually when your kid may need them the most. Remember, it’s always better to be safe than sorry!

4. Don’t work alone
If you’re a single parent, ask someone else to help you, for instance, close family members or neighboring mothers. Even if you’re used to taking care of your little one by yourself, it’s always good to have another swimmer to assist you. Moreover, your child may learn much faster with 2 different teaching styles than only one.

5. Teach your child to breathe underwater
Another step to go through when teaching your little one to swim is to make sure that your child knows how to breathe underwater. One of the best ways to go about it is through the counting method. Watch your kid blow bubbles underwater and count to 5 as he/she holds on to you. It is very important to master this technique. You don’t want to see your child suffocate herself/himself while swimming because they couldn’t find out how to breathe underwater correctly.

6. Teach your child to float
Children often have a difficult time learning to float. Although it requires a lot of patience and reassurance, it’s actually worth the effort since floating is such a vital safety skill. At first, your little one might struggle and this tension can cause them to fold in at the waist. Explain to your child that they should relax if they want to learn to float. Try to encourage your child to lie back in the bath or in the pool first. This will take a few attempts and lots of reassurance, but both you and your kid will be satisfied with the results.

7. Teach your child to kick their feet
Help your kid learn to kick their feet. Have them scissor kick their legs and ask them to make as many bubbles as they can. You can even make a fun game out of it and see how much froth your child can make. Help your child to fully enjoy their lesson. Once they have acquired the basic skills, you can start to teach beginning arm strokes as well as more advanced swimming techniques.

8. Look for professional help
If teaching your kid to swim on your own seems impossible, don’t give up! Opt for some professional swimming lessons at the community center. A lot of young people, who were successful swimmers in high school or college, offer swimming lessons at a reasonable price. If you can teach your child, these lessons may not be necessary, but if you have a busy schedule and you want your little one to learn how to swim, enroll them in some good swimming lessons.

9. Be patient
One of the best ways to teach your little one anything new is to display as much patience as possible, and don’t overreact when you kid looks to you for help. Everybody has different learning styles and speeds, keep it in mind and try to be patient when teaching your little one how to swim.

Have you had a difficult time teaching your little one to swim? What tips can you suggest to other moms looking to teach their children to swim? Share your tips with us please.

Designing the Best Room for Your Child: How to Do It on a Budget

I think all caring parents should pay more attention to the choice of room design for their children. Your children’s room is the place where your little ones spend the majority of their time, where they grow and develop their individuality, learn new things and play with their favorite toys. That’s why it’s important to design the best and the most comfortable room for your children, taking into consideration their tastes and personality. If they don’t like their room’s furniture, accessories or the color of wallpapers, they will feel unhappy and even lose the desire to learn and play.

When I was a child, I dreamt about bright and exciting bedroom with colorful furniture and funny decorations, but there was nothing special in my room: only toys and a few cheerful pictures on the wall could tell you it was a child’s room. We lived in a small flat and due to that my parents couldn’t implement their great ideas for designing my room. Every time I visited my friend, I was fascinated by her colorful and playful room, which filled me with positive emotions. So, when I had given birth to my own child I strongly decided to design a cosy and beautiful room for her. Now my little daughter feels absolutely happy and enjoys playing in her room throughout the day.

In case you are going to prepare a new room for your kids, bear in mind that you can do it easily even without spending lots of money. I hope that the following tips will help you to create an unforgettable playroom for your little ones.

Designing the Best Room for Your Child How to Do It on a Budget
1. Consider the Space
The first thing you should do while designing a children’s room is to measure it and make sure there will be enough space for your kids to have fun and play around. Personally I tried not to use too much furniture in my child’s room since it could constrict her movement and make her feel uncomfortable. Thus, I recommend you to avoid cramming the room with unnecessary furniture items if it has a little space. Perhaps you have another room in your flat that can give more freedom for your kids to enjoy their personal activities. The main rule you should stick to is to keep a small room simple and neat, otherwise it will have a cluttered and messy look.

2. Choose the Right Color
Without a doubt, color plays a significant role in decorating the room for your kids. You can use the colors that can’t be found in other areas of your home. Nowadays there’s a wide range of colors and their combinations that will look marvelous in your child’s room. Before opting for the most suitable color scheme I suggest you to take into account the preferences of your little one.

From my personal experience I know that it’s really important to consider their tastes, no matter how old they are. Don’t be afraid to mix colors and combine them in different parts of the room. I used light green wallpapers for my daughter’s room and added this color to such items as a bed and carpet. When it comes to decorating kids’ room, bright hues are the most preferable choices as they make it look more spacious.

3. Opt for Cheap Furniture
As I mentioned above, you don’t need a lot of furniture for a small room, however, it should be designed specifically for children since safety is the most crucial thing to consider when furnishing their room. Surely, all parents want to get high-quality furniture for their loved ones, but what should we do if it is rather expensive for us? I’ve found a nice solution for this problem. Since I didn’t have enough money for new items, I purchased good quality used furniture and I’m still satisfied with my choice.

Nowadays there are lots of Internet services that will help you to buy whatever you need without leaving your home. Another cheap and creative way to design your child’s room on a budget is to polish old items with new colors. When I couldn’t find a table for my daughter’s playroom, one of my neighbors gave the old one to me so that I only cleaned it up, painted and a new item appeared in the room.

4. Design the Lightning
Today you can buy numerous lamp shades to design the lightning in your kid’s room. Unfortunately, the most interesting and unique ones are very expensive. Though, it doesn’t mean you can’t buy something at a reasonable price. All you need is to be creative and you will definitely manage to get adorable decoration for the playroom. When I designed the lightning in my child’s room, I used only ceiling light and simple light switch that could guarantee my daughter’s safety.

5. Add Wall Hangings
One of the cheapest and most creative ideas for decorating children’s room is using various wall hangings that will add some sophistication and uniqueness to your children’s room. It will be a splendid decision to frame your kid’s photos and hang them on the wall – they will always create warm atmosphere in your home and remind of the most precious moments in your life. Floral and animal wall stickers helped me to implement my great decorating ideas on a budget.

Taking into account my own experience, I should say that designing a new room for kids is not as difficult as you may think. My creativity and enthusiasm are the main things that helped me to make my daughter’s room a pleasant and comfortable place to live in. Remember that your child’s mood, happiness and attitude to life are greatly dependent on his/her surroundings. That’s why you should spare no efforts and time to design the best and most comfortable room for your little one. What ideas did you use while designing and decorating your child’s room?

12 Signs That You’re A NICU Parent

It’s a familiar place for the select few; a quiet atmosphere mixed with the hustle and bustle of doctors and nurses. It’s a place not for the faint of heart, where parents become stronger than they could ever imagine. It’s a place where happiness can turn into heartache in a matter of seconds, and where those tears of sadness can transform back into joy within minutes. For the families who experience the neonatal intensive care unit, a roller coaster of emotions is a guarantee. It’s a place I remember vividly, as my family called the NICU “home” for nearly four months.

It only takes one breath to bring back the memories of my experience as a NICU parent. The distinct smell of the hospital will always stay with me, and the alarms and beeps of the machines bring back a rush of adrenaline and fear. In 2013, I gave birth to triplets more than 17 weeks premature. My first-born never made it to the NICU; she passed away in our arms in the hospital delivery room. Her brother and sister were whisked away to the NICU. At 22 weeks 6 days, they were the youngest babies our hospital was treating. Our son never experienced life outside the hospital walls; he passed away just shy of two months old. Our lone surviving triplet spent 116 days in the NICU. She’s now a healthy 4-year-old, a perfect testament to overcoming the toughest obstacles. The NICU will always hold a special place in our hearts and that holds true for so many other families. Here are 12 signs that you are a NICU parent:

1. You measure your child’s weight in grams, not pounds.

You keep a conversion chart handy or download an app. You cry tears of joy when your child reaches that 2000 gram mark (over 4 pounds).

2. You know so many medical terms, strangers assume you’re a medical student.

TPN, CPAP, NG are more than just initials. When a doctor explains your baby’s latest setback, you begin feverishly researching. You even consider becoming a nurse after spending so much time getting to know your baby’s conditions.

3. “Do you want to hold your child?” takes on a whole new meaning.

It may be days or weeks after birth when you first hold your child. Your heart feels like it may burst with love as your baby melts onto your chest for that first “Kangaroo Care” experience.

4. When you see a syringe, you think it’s for feeding.

Food is measured in CC’s for the littlest babies. You jump for joy when the measurements change over to ounces.

5. Your child’s first clothing comes from a doll.

Too small to fit into preemie clothing, you find that Build-A-Bear makes adorable outfits that can be used for more than just stuffed animals.

6. You see a full term baby and he looks like a giant.

5 pounds seems large, but a typical 7-8 pound healthy baby? Whoa! Are you sure he’s a newborn???

7. You time your breast-pumping schedule around the NICU in order to use hospital grade pumps.

Sure, I have a breast-pump at home, but you can get 5 ounces more by using the powerful pumps in the NICU. Plus, the pumping room provides hours of entertainment and hospital gossip!

8. You cringe when you pass a pregnant women complaining about her third trimester.

You would give anything to make it to 32 weeks. For micro-preemie parents, the thought of even making it to your third trimester would be a dream come true.

9. Your car is on autopilot—you could drive the hospital route in your sleep.

Even after leaving the Nicu, you drive half way to the hospital before realizing your child is home and you actually meant to drive to the grocery store.

10. You buy hand sanitizer in bulk when you hear your child will be coming home soon.

You place giant containers of hand sanitizer at the front door, in the nursery, living room, kitchen and every other room of the house. You also have a box of surgical masks on hand in case you feel a cold coming on.

11. Your child wears newborn size diapers for six months.

Friends start giving you their boxes of diapers that their newborn baby never used. You celebrate when your child finally gets to wear size 1 diapers.

12. You believe in miracles.

Every child is a miracle, but experiencing the NICU gives you a new appreciation for all babies. Your child beat the odds and has proven that the smallest babies can put up the biggest fight.

How to Help Your Child Overcome Shyness

Shy children tend to feel uncomfortable and anxious in most situations. If your child is shy, it’s important to help your little one to overcome it when they are so young. Kids who suffer from shyness may grow up to be shy adults or they may grow out of it. As a mom, you can’t simply sit and wait for your kid to grow out of it. It’s not easy to overcome shyness, but you can do a few things to help your shy child become more comfortable and confident in social situations.

1. Don’t blame your child for being shy
Never blame your child for being so quiet and shy. Never compare your shy child to more active kids. If you have such a bad habit, break it right now. It may be your fault, because you are a parent. You may say that you work hard to buy anything your kid wants, but they don’t actually need money and things, they need your attention and care. You should teach your child how to communicate effectively and feel comfortable in any social situation. If you are a shy person, don’t blame your little one for being shy as well.

2. Don’t change your child
Every child has their own personality. It may be tempting to try to change your shy child overnight or in a week, but don’t do it. You can help them to overcome shyness, but you can’t change them, no matter how hard you try. If you often make your child behave more outgoing, and you criticize them when they are quiet, you do more harm than good. Your child may become even shyer.

3. Motivate a child to try new things
Instead of trying to change your shy child, encourage them to try new things. The more things your child will try, the more chances they will become more outgoing. Motivate your child to try different classes, such as painting, swimming, dancing, singing, crafting etc. It will help your shy child to spend more time with other kids and make more friends.

4. Invite more children over to your home
One of the best ways to help your child overcome shyness is to invite other kids over to your home as often as possible. Let your little one learn how to communicate with other children and make more friends. Many parents worry about their quiet children, but they don’t realize that they might be guilty for it. If you allow your child to watch TV or play games online instead of playing with other kids, it’s no wonder they are quiet and shy.

5. Enroll your child in a drama class
Enrolling your child in a drama class can also help them overcome shyness. But don’t do it suddenly. Start slowly. Perform some plays at home in order to prepare your child for a drama class. It’s easier to pretend to be someone else than to be yourself. See if it works for your child, then why not? Most children enjoy being on stage so chances are your little one will enjoy it too.

More: 8 Ways to Stop a Child’s Temper Tantrum in 5-10 Seconds (or less)

6. Don’t push your child
If your child doesn’t want to take a drama class or play with some kids, don’t push them. Shy children always avoid doing anything that makes them feel uncomfortable. If you push your shy child into taking a drama class, they won’t thank you. They will feel hurt and they will think that you don’t understand their feelings.

7. Talk to your child as often as possible
No matter how busy you are, you should find time to talk and listen to your shy child. It’s so easy to say, ‘Go and play some games in your room, mom is busy.’ Your child has feelings, thoughts and opinions. They need someone to talk to daily. Just like you share your feelings and opinions with your parents, friends and coworkers, your child wants to share their feelings as well. Children don’t tend to share their opinions with strangers or friends. As a parent, you should learn how to listen to your child and find a few minutes to talk to them when they ask you about it.

It’s hard to realize that your child is shy, but don’t panic. It doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong with them. As a parent, you can help your shy child, but don’t expect too much from them. If you have any other tips for helping shy children, share them with us, please.

Family Issues: The Burden of Being the Oldest Child

Dealing with unreasonable siblings is one of the hardest things to do while living a family life, especially for the oldest child of the family. Having to take the pressure of keeping everything and everyone in order at home can be a tense and sometimes depressing experience. Here are a few tips on understanding how the oldest child of the family feels while trying to control a situation in which there can be no control without a parent’s help.


All children, whether alone or surrounded by brothers and sisters, tend to reach an age when they should be responsible for themselves and perhaps for others. There are times when children can’t handle the pressure that they are burdened with by their parents, and most of the time, this causes problems because parents don’t understand what is troubling their child. The key to working out all problems, not only family issues, is communication.

Poor communication

In these modern times, parents may be too busy to talk to their children, or they may simply not know what to say, but talking and trying to understand the feelings of your child is definitely worth the time and the tension of the conversation. It will help understand the emotions your child is going through, and it may also decrease the awkwardness of future conversations.


In most cases, the oldest child is usually blamed, because he or she is believed to have the most common sense to deal with and solve certain situations, yet can’t, obviously due to inexperience and also due to the need and lack of guidance. Parents need to be able to sit down and talk about everything with their children, especially the issues and their possible solutions. This may be a difficult thing to do, but it will make your family a happy place to be around.

The absence of parental guidance

Parents also need to be there for their children. The absence of parental guidance is what causes issues, and that is why parents need to be around and guide their children while they are young and can be taught to do the right thing. Helping the oldest child in the family may be the key to solving most problems, because that way, when you may not be around to watch and guide certain behavior, the oldest child may take charge in a beneficial way. Parents must understand that the oldest child has tough times that need to be gotten through together, and the more guidance, the better.

The hidden feelings

Another cause of misunderstood emotions or actions may be due to the fact that children are sometimes afraid to release their feelings to people who may be helpful. This is why parents need to encourage conversations about emotions and thoughts; everybody feels better after they let everything out into the open, because keeping it inside will definitely not cause any changes, and may even make things worse. The oldest child in family may think that they don’t have the right to speak up and you, as a parent, should explain to your child that it’s okay to express their feelings and emotions but in a proper way.

The oldest child of the family should have a shoulder to lean on in the family no matter how good or bad the situation is, and parents are deeply encouraged to allow their children to talk about feelings, and possibly to make a change in the environment, which will make the child’s life an easier and happier place to be in. Are you the oldest child in your family? What kind of issues have you faced?

5 Reasons Your Child Should Eat an Apple a Day

Whether your little one loves apples or makes faces while eating them, it’s crucial to incorporate at least one apple into your child’s meal plan each day. Not only does an apple a day keeps the doctor away, munching on apples provides a nice boost in child’s energy and gives nutrients they need to get through the day. It may sound ridiculous, since children have tons of energy, but some kids feel low in energy and have many health issues. Keep your little one healthy all year round by adding more apples to their favorite meals.

1. Boost your child’s bone health
Apples are rich in boron, a trace mineral that helps the body to absorb magnesium and calcium, which are both important to your child’s bone health. Since your child’s bones keep growing throughout childhood, you should make sure your little one’s eating plan includes all essential nutrients for healthy teeth and bones. While eating apples alone isn’t a surefire way to keep your child’s bones healthy, an apple a day can significantly promote bone health.

2. Increase vitamin C intake
Oranges are not the only source of vitamin C. One apple provides about 14 percent of the daily recommended allowance for vitamin C. The body doesn’t store this vitamin, so it’s crucial to consume vitamin C rich foods each day. Vitamin C helps to boost your child’s immune system, thus can reduce the risk of flu and cold. If your child doesn’t want to eat an apple a day, try adding it to oatmeal, fresh juice, kid-friendly smoothies, yogurt, or make apple chips.

3. Apples are an excellent source of healthy carbs
Your child needs carbs to stay active throughout the day. There are many great sources of carbs, but apples are probably the healthiest one. Apples have a high fiber content and a small sugar content, which makes them perfect kid-friendly snacks. Due to its high fiber content, an apple a day helps keep your child’s energy level high and mind alert during the day. The problem is, not every child loves apples. When I was a child, I was a terribly picky eater, and I literally hated apples, so my mom always tried to trick me into having my apple a day. One of her best tricks was a grated apple and carrot salad. I still love this delicious salad and, hopefully, your picky eater will love it too!

4. They have a high pectin content
It’s never too early to start thinking about cancer prevention. Apples contain pectin that helps prevent high cholesterol, heart disease and cancer. Pectin can also help with your child’s digestion and can treat diarrhea, though if your child has any health issues, pay a visit to your doctor as soon as possible.

5. They are rich in vitamin A
If you grow your own apples, or you’re absolutely sure you buy organic, pesticide-free apples, don’t throw away the skins of apples as they contain vitamin A – an important vitamin that benefits child’s vision, tooth and bone development. Additionally, Vitamin A helps protect your child from infections, promotes the growth and health of tissues and cells in the body, particularly those in the skin, nails, and hair. When you are not sure that apples are pesticide-free, peel an apple right before you give it to your kid.

The nutritional value of apples are awesome, which is why both adults and kids should have at least one apple a day to stay healthy. If your child is bored with plain apple juice and apple slices, use your creativity and kid-friendly recipes to create incredibly tasty snacks and desserts, such as mini apple pies, apple salads and smoothies. Does your little one have an apple a day each day? What tricks do you use to make sure your child is getting all the essential nutrients? Share them with us, please.

How To Raise A Healthy Child Book Review

Several friends recommended How to Raise a Healthy Child in Spite of Your Doctor and I finally got a chance to read it. Though it was written in the 1970s, much of the information is just as important (if not more so!).

Dr. Mendelsohn is a pediatrician who was hoping to change the field from the inside. In this book, he shares his experience from years of practice.

While Mendelsohn challenges many of the common procedures of Pediatric medicine, he starts by explaining that he doesn’t feel that the doctors are at fault as much as the system itself needs to be changed.

I’ve often felt the same way in my dealings with doctors, especially pediatricians. As a whole, doctors tend to be compassionate and truly interested in helping their patients, though there are still things they have been taught by a faulty system that I refuse for my children.

An Oldie but a Goodie:

With the exception of encouraging mothers to give babies a drop of whiskey to calm them, I felt that most of the information in this book was still very valid and needed in today’s world.

Mendelsohn gives advice and encouragement to parents for handling most minor illnesses at home, and gives a helpful checklist at the end of each chapter for when an injury or illness requires medical help.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that I agreed with How To Raise A Healthy Child on topics of illness treatment (or non-treatment), strep throat treatment, ear aches, active children, and many other points.

How to Raise a Healthy Child in Spite of Your Doctor even touches on healthy birth (home vs. hospital), vaccination, and how most skin and respiratory problems (asthma, allergies) actually stem from food intolerances!

We very rarely take any of our children to a doctor (and NEVER give Tylenol or other drugs to bring down fever), and after reading How to Raise a Healthy Child in Spite of Your Doctor, I’m even more comfortable in these decisions. I especially love that Mendelsohn urges parents to trust their own instincts when it comes to their child’s health and says that for minor illness, parents can often handle it better than a doctor could.

How to Raise a Healthy Child is an easy read (I was able to finish in a night) and I’d highly encourage it to all parents or those expecting a first child. I’ll be giving it to many friends as a pregnancy gift and think that much of the information would be helpful to many parents.

Have you read this book? What did you think? Share below!

Child living with HIV maintains remission without drugs since 2008

A nine-year-old South African child who was diagnosed with HIV infection at one month of age and received anti-HIV treatment during infancy has suppressed the virus without anti-HIV drugs for eight and a half years, scientists reported today at the 9th IAS Conference on HIV Science in Paris. This case appears to be the third reported instance of sustained HIV remission in a child after early, limited anti-HIV treatment.

Previously, the “Mississippi Baby,” born with HIV in 2010, received anti-HIV treatment beginning 30 hours after birth, stopped therapy around 18 months of age, and controlled the virus without drugs for 27 months before it reappeared in her blood. In 2015, researchers reported that a French child who was born with HIV in 1996, started anti-HIV therapy at age 3 months, and stopped treatment sometime between ages 5.5 and 7 years continued to control the virus without drugs more than 11 years later.

“Further study is needed to learn how to induce long-term HIV remission in infected babies,” said Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). “However, this new case strengthens our hope that by treating HIV-infected children for a brief period beginning in infancy, we may be able to spare them the burden of life-long therapy and the health consequences of long-term immune activation typically associated with HIV disease.”

NIAID funded the clinical trial in which the child received treatment and follow-up monitoring.

The South African child whose case was reported today was definitively diagnosed with HIV infection in 2007 at 32 days of age, and then was enrolled in the NIAID-funded Children with HIV Early Antiretroviral Therapy (CHER) clinical trial. HIV-infected infants in the trial were assigned at random to receive either deferred antiretroviral therapy (ART) or early, limited ART for 40 or 96 weeks. The current child was assigned to the group of 143 infants who received early ART for 40 weeks.

Before starting treatment, the child had very high levels of HIV in the blood (viral load), but after beginning ART at about 9 weeks of age, treatment suppressed the virus to undetectable levels. Investigators halted treatment after 40 weeks and closely monitored the infant’s immune health, and the child has remained in good health during years of follow-up examinations. Although it was not standard practice in South Africa to monitor viral load in people who were not on ART, recent analyses of stored blood samples taken during follow-up showed that the child has maintained an undetectable level of HIV.

When the child was 9-and-a-half years old, investigators conducted thorough laboratory and clinical studies to assess the child’s immune health and the presence of HIV. The scientists detected a reservoir of virus integrated into a tiny proportion of immune cells, but otherwise found no evidence of HIV infection. The child had a healthy level of key immune cells, a viral load that was undetectable by standard assays, and no symptoms of HIV infection. The researchers detected a trace of immune system response to the virus, but found no HIV capable of replicating. The scientists also confirmed that the child does not have genetic characteristics associated with spontaneous control of HIV, suggesting that the 40 weeks of ART provided during infancy may have been key to achieving HIV remission.

“To our knowledge, this is the first reported case of sustained control of HIV in a child enrolled in a randomized trial of ART interruption following treatment early in infancy,” said Avy Violari, F.C.Paed. Dr. Violari co-led the study of the case reported today as well as the CHER trial with Mark Cotton, M.Med., Ph.D. Dr. Violari is head of pediatric research at the Perinatal HIV Research Unit, part of the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. Dr. Cotton is head of the division of pediatric infectious diseases and director of the family infectious diseases clinical research unit at Stellenbosch University, South Africa.

“We believe there may have been other factors in addition to early ART that contributed to HIV remission in this child,” said Caroline Tiemessen, Ph.D., whose laboratory is studying the child’s immune system. “By further studying the child, we may expand our understanding of how the immune system controls HIV replication.” Dr. Tiemessen is head of cell biology at the Centre of HIV and STIs of the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) in Johannesburg.

An ongoing NIH clinical trial called IMPAACT P1115 is testing the hypothesis that giving ART to HIV-infected newborns beginning within 48 hours of birth may permit long-term control of HIV replication after treatment is stopped, potentially leading to HIV remission. IMPAACT P1115 began in 2014 and has enrolled close to 400 HIV-exposed infants, 42 of whom are HIV infected, in Argentina, Brazil, Haiti, Malawi, South Africa, Uganda, the United States, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The first children may become eligible to stop ART in late 2017.

NIAID provided funding for the CHER trial as part of a Comprehensive International Program for Research on AIDS-South Africa grant. Additional support was provided by the Medical Research Council Clinical Trials Unit at University College London, the Departments of Health of the Western Cape and Gauteng in South Africa, and ViiV Healthcare. The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, also part of NIH, supported continued observation of the children in CHER after the study ended. The EPIICAL Consortium funded the recent analysis of viral load in the children who participated in CHER. The South African Research Chairs Initiative of the Department of Science and Technology and the National Research Foundation of South Africa funded the laboratory studies of the child whose case was reported today.

Reference: A Violari et al. Viral and host characteristics of a child with perinatal HIV-1 following a prolonged period after ART cessation in the CHER trial. 9th IAS Conference on HIV Science, Paris (2017).