20 October 2022

How to support your child if you are concerned about their weight

It can be difficult to watch your child struggling with their weight. As a parent, you want to do everything you can to help your children – especially when they are stressed. Here are some ways to help support your child if you are worried that their weight may be affecting their health and well-being. If you are concerned about your child’s…, Avoid blame , Young people can gain weight due to several reasons outside of their control or individual behaviour, often with complex causes. Children who struggle with their weight frequently experience bias, stigma and bullying. It’s critical to stay away from blaming your child, and instead try to understand the structural issues at play that encourage…, Approach conversations with no judgment, It is important that your child knows that you are there for them and always available to listen to their worries or concerns, without judgment.   Refrain from using stigmatizing language or making negative comments about people’s bodies – including your own. This can be harmful to your child’s self-esteem and make them feel uncomfortable about…, Have healthy conversations, In a fast-changing digital landscape, it is important to remain aware of threats to the mental health and well-being of your child as it relates to their confidence and body image issues. These can range from social media posts stereotyping weight or encouraging eating disorders, to the constant corporate marketing of unhealthy junk food targeting…, Focus on healthy behaviours, Unless advised by a health professional, focus on “health and a healthy goals” rather than weight loss. Healthy eating and physical activity behaviours do not become routine overnight. It takes time, effort and perseverance from you and your child to make changes that last. Any big, sudden alterations to your child’s diet and lifestyle are…, Enjoy mealtimes together, As often as possible, prepare and have meals together as a family. This is a great time for talking about and practicing making healthy food choices. Give child-sized portions and let your child ask for more food if they’re still hungry. Having set mealtimes and snack times also helps to teach your child that there are set times for eating rather…, Find joy in movement, Encourage outdoor play and being active together as a family. From age 3 years and up, children should be active for at least one hour each day, but this can be broken up into short periods of 15 to 20 minutes. For younger children, try playing chasing games like tag or ball games. For older children, go for family walks or try taking up a new…, Wellness, not weight, Avoid making weight the only focus in this process by paying greater attention to the family-wide benefits of healthy eating and active behaviours. These are the ingredients needed to support your child’s growth and development into adulthood, as well as boosting their immunity and emotional well-being. In fact, making the right changes at the…
01 August 2022

Breastfeeding: Mini Parenting Master Class

We sat down with Dr. Michele Griswold, lactation expert and former president of the International Lactation Consultant Association to answer some of the many questions surrounding breastfeeding., Transcript of 'Breastfeeding: Mini Parenting Master Class' video, "Did you know that your nipples have good bacteria? So you don’t need to wash them before breastfeeding. My name is Dr. Michele Griswald, and this is my Mini Parenting Master Class on breastfeeding." , Is breastfeeding easy?, "Sometimes mothers get messages that breastfeeding is natural and it’s easy. Sometimes breastfeeding can be easy with the first baby, and hard with the second baby for the same mother. So it really just depends.", Does breastfeeding hurt?, "You shouldn’t stop breastfeeding if your nipples hurt. You should keep breastfeeding but you should get help to see why it’s hurting.", How much should my baby eat?, "They should see signs of hunger about 8 to 12 times in 24 hours. Newborn babies need to eat a lot because they’re growing rapidly. They double their birth weight in the first six months of life, or before. So you can imagine how much you would need to eat if you had to double your weight.", Should I wash my nipples before breastfeeding?, "It’s not necessary to wash your nipples before you breastfeed, because the breasts and the skin around the nipple actually produces good bacteria. And it’s that good bacteria that helps to prevent infections on the mother’s breast.", When should I start breastfeeding?, "The first hour after birth is a very important time for the mother and the baby. Breastfeeding is a very organized, neurological behavior. And so right after birth, keeping them against the mother’s skin can help them to be calm enough to start to seek the breast. And if we do just leave mothers and babies like that after birth, then they will…, What should I eat while breastfeeding?, "Most mothers can eat anything they want when they breastfeed. They can follow their normal diet. And the interesting thing is whatever they eat, the babies will taste through their milk and start to get them ready for table foods when they’re about 6 months old.", When should I wean my baby?, "Babies will naturally wean starting around one year of age or so because developmentally, they’re changing so much. They’re becoming less focused on their mother, and more focused on learning about the world around them.", Will I have to wean my baby when I got back to work?, "We would hope that mothers who return to work do not have to wean their babies. Mothers need time and they need support to continue to breastfeed their babies. They need the support of their family, they need the support of their workplace, their employers, they need the support of their entire community. Breastfeeding not just about food. It’s…
08 July 2022

How to raise a healthy eater

Good food and nutrition are the foundation of children’s health and bring benefits that can last a lifetime. Teaching your child about healthy eating from a young age will help them to have a positive relationship with food well into adulthood. And believe it or not, shaping these habits can be fun and healthy – not just for your child, but your…, 1. Promote positive habits, Your little ones watch everything you do – including at mealtime. You can be a good role model by reaching for healthy foods, beverages and snacks yourself, and engaging in fun physical activity. Choosing to put healthy, whole foods on the table sets a great example for your child. Try including your children in food shopping and preparation. They…, 2. Maintain a healthy relationship with food, Having a healthy mindset around eating is key for lifelong health and protecting against illnesses like heart disease, cancer and diabetes. You can help guide your young child by: Helping them understand whether they are physically hungry. This will help them to become in tune with their body’s needs. Staying away from using food as a reward or…, 3. Let go of “clean your plate!”, Although you might think this could help your child get the nutrients needed from food, these behaviours can lead to disliking foods and having negative associations with mealtime. If you can’t get your child to eat their veggies, try to have them see you eating and enjoying them yourself. Your little one learns about food choices from you, so try…, 4. Make portion control a priority, Oversized portions can lead to weight gain, so it is important to teach your children about how much food they should have on their plate. An easy way to teach your child about child-portion sizes is to use visuals for example: A closed fist is recommended for a portion of pasta, rice or cereal. A meat portion should be about as big as their palm…, 5. Start the day with a healthy breakfast, Mornings can be a rush for many families, but starting the day with a balanced meal helps your child get the important nutrients – such as calcium and fibre – needed for their growth and development. Try to create breakfasts with nutrient-dense ingredients like plain yoghurt and fresh fruit instead of sweetened cereals or pastries, which tend to…, 6. Make activity fun, Children need at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day. Why not join in the fun? Try to plan family activities that get everyone moving such as after-dinner walks or swimming. And be spontaneous when you see an opportunity, like dancing together when a favourite song comes on the radio. It is also important to encourage your child to limit…