As a mother myself, I know the importance of raising strong children. And as a pediatrician, I know that establishing strength very early on in life is a huge part of disease preventionHere are my ideas on how we raise strong babies – both inside and out.

Strong Gut.

Not to alarm you all too much, but recent research shows that nine out of 10 babies born in the U.S. today are missing a good gut bacteria called B. infantis, which has served a very important purpose in the past – to help develop a baby’s immune system and metabolism. Without this good gut bacteria, bad bacteria can thrive and that can impact a baby’s developing immune system and make them more susceptible to developing health issues like eczema, allergies, asthma, and diabetes later in life. That’s why I recommend that all parents start their babies on Evivo as soon as possible after birth. Evivo is a baby probiotic that contains B. infantis and, when mixed with breast milk, it works to fortify the gut with good bacteria.

Strong Mind.

Did you know that a baby’s brain will never grow at a more rapid pace than it does in the first few years of life?   That’s why it is never too early to start educating your baby. I recommend spending time playing, reading and talking with your baby. Introduce your baby to environments with colors, smells, shapes and sounds, which will all trigger stimulation and help “feed” a baby’s brain development. Activities such as singing, reading, and playtime all arouse your baby’s senses, and improve his or her curiosity, attention span, memory, and nervous system development.

Strong Muscles.

The first exercise all babies should do is “tummy time.” Lay your baby on his tummy and encourage him to lift his head. Get down at his level and talk, sing, shake a rattle to encourage him to slowly lift up his head and turn it from side to side. As he grows, you can encourage him to roll and scoot in the same way by just moving the object he desires and encouraging him by talking and making cute noises. While baby lays on his back, you can bicycle arms and legs and as he gets older he will start trying to do mini “sit ups” or “crunches” and eventually, around 6 months of age he will be able to eat his toes. And finally, to work the arms and shoulders, allow your baby to reach for your face and later toys to hand you and lift, lift and lift! Hand held toys are fun to “play with” and provide built-in “reps” for the arm muscles. This will help build strength and endurance.

Strong Immune System.

I always suggest that parents avoid unnecessary antibiotic use. Most of the infections babies catch are viral and will improve on their own, so don’t ask your pediatrician (or urgent care) for an antibiotic if it isn’t truly necessary. I also highly recommend that new moms breastfeed and consider supplementing their breast milk with a baby probiotic like Evivo. When paired together, as I mentioned above, this “cocktail” is ideal to help balance your baby’s gut. Remember, a baby’s gut is what influences their immune system! And as you start solid food, make sure you feed your baby plenty of fresh fruit and veggies. Finally, and you would think this would go without saying, but avoid exposing your newborn to sick people. I know, I know…Aunt Barb would really like to see the little guy this weekend…but try to hold off until Auntie gets rid of that nasty cough. (Sorry, Auntie!)

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