(Family Features) When you’re a new parent, once you’ve successfully navigated the first car ride home from the hospital and the euphoria of this new little life begins to fade, you’re left with one resounding question: now what?
Over the years, you’ll have many responsibilities as a parent, but your most important focus in those early days, weeks and months is your child’s health and development, including his or her brain, gut and senses.
Numerous studies offer evidence that a child’s learning abilities are developed during early childhood, meaning before even heading off to school. That’s why it’s important to begin nurturing your baby’s cognitive development from the start.
That doesn’t mean you need to reach for the flash cards right away, though. Instead, focus on simply talking, singing and playing together. These activities can help develop vocabulary and other important cognitive functions. As your baby develops, pay attention to what captures his or her attention and encourage exploration of toys, textures and other items of interest.
When it comes to a baby’s gut health, the first six months are critical. It’s during this time period when babies have yet to be introduced to solid food that the immune system and metabolism are developing and being programmed for the future. Research published in “Cell” shows good gut bacteria during infancy, specifically Bifidobacterium, plays a critical role in establishing strong immune systems and metabolism.
“It’s important for infants to have an abundance of beneficial bacteria, such as Bifidobacterium,in their gut early in life,” said Dr. Tracy Shafizadeh, PhD, gut health expert for Evivo. “Unfortunately, as an unintended consequence of modern medical practices such as antibiotics and C-sections, it is estimated that nine out of 10 babies have exceptionally low levels of Bifidobacterium. This allows an overgrowth of bad gut bacteria, which is linked to short- and long-term health conditions such as colic, eczema, allergies, asthma, diabetes and obesity.”
There is, however, a way for parents to identify if their baby has high or low levels of Bifidobacterium by asking three simple questions. If the answer is “yes” to any of these questions, there’s a good chance your baby’s Bifidobacterium levels are low.
- Were you or your baby given antibiotics during pregnancy, childbirth or in the first six months after childbirth?
- Were you or your baby born via C-section?
- Does your baby have diaper rash or have 5-plus loose, watery poops per day?
If you’re concerned about your baby’s gut health, talk with your pediatrician about an option like Evivo, the first and only baby probiotic clinically proven to restore the levels of B. infantis, a specific strain of Bifidobacterium, in a baby’s gut and reduce bad gut bacteria linked to colic, eczema, allergies, diabetes and obesity by 80 percent.
Sensory cues are what allow your baby to take in information about surroundings. Exposing your baby to various sensory experiences funnels a wealth of information to help develop skills and better understand the visual, audible, olfactory and textural stimulants that he or she encounters.
As your child grows older, these early experiences can help him or her recognize different colors, sounds, smells and tastes, some of which may later distinguish likes and dislikes, such as an enjoyment of one type of food and distaste for another.
Find more information and ideas for ways to improve your baby’s health at evivo.com.