So to conclude I have collated a list of fabulous ways that you can minimise the likelihood of ear infections and give some suggestions to strengthen the health of your children. These tips are discussed in greater depth in the 2nd Edition of “Well Adjusted Babies”.
1.Breastfeed for as long as you possibly can.
This won’t prevent all ear infections, by any means, but it will reduce their likelihood, speed recovery, and reduce the chances of needing antibiotics. Since breastfed infants are less likely to use a pacifier than bottle-fed babies, the whole dilemma of using a dummy (discussed in the last two blogs) often doesn’t occur.
2. Avoidance of milk (besides human milk), dairy, gluten and sugars are also very important to prevent ear infections.
With the huge increase in childhood eczema, asthma and ear infections, we are starting to see nutritional advice suggesting that both wheat and dairy based foods be delayed for at least the first 12–15 months of an infant’s life. Delaying these items allows your child’s gut and bowel time to mature before exposure to such strong allergens. By this age the majority of children will be less likely to develop sensitivity or exhibit signs of intolerance.
Food intolerances result in a host of inflammatory responses from the body. One of which is an increased production of mucus which reults in sinus and lymphatic drainage issues.
Did you know that cow’s milk is the first allergen to which infants commonly react? In the United States, pasteurised milk is said to be the number one allergic food. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises parents not to give their children dairy milk before their first birthday.Dr Frank Oski, former Chief of Pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University Hospital, elaborates: “It is my thesis that whole milk should not be fed to the infant in the first year of life because of its association with iron deficiency anaemia, occult gastrointestinal bleeding, and various manifestations of food allergy”.
In Well Adjusted Babies we discuss avoiding dairy, gluten, wheat, sugars and soy in depth. Please refer to related chapters for more information.
3. Keeping your child’s nervous system’s free of interference keeps their immunity strong.
Your nervous system is your body’s master controller. Your nervous system coordinates all bodily functions, including your breathing,digestion and immune responses. Over the last two decades there has been much discussion and research conducted on the relationship between the nervous and immune systems and how they work together intricately.
Nerve messages can be interrupted or affected by vertebral subluxations which occur when there are misalignments of one or more vertebrae of the spine. This results in altered spinal motion and impaired nerve function which may effect how well the body functions including how well we fight infections, digest and metabolise foods. Chiropractors are highly skilled at assessing the nervous system and adjusting vertebral subluxations. By removing nerve interference the body is better able to co-ordinate and regulate itself.
4. Keep your child’s digestive system strong.
The digestive system houses the largest part of a child’s immune system; in fact, it is estimated that approximately 60% of our immune cells reside in our colon. Unfortunately, toxins and dietary allergens can fundamentally affect and overload our digestive capacity. An adult’s digestive health experience is most certainly related to the digestive strength established and fostered during childhood. Inappropriate food introduction during childhood can compromise digestive strength for life.
Infants are born with immature digestive systems that are not able to easily break down and assimilate foods. The enzymes of an infant’s digestive system are as yet neither plentiful nor efficient. The digestive system is also extremely porous, hence the importance of the correct introduction of solid foods. Other important steps for parents are keeping your child hydrated (encourage them to drink ample filtered water) and introduce a dairy-free probiotic almost straight away.
Mothers who breastfeed can rub probiotics onto their nipples before a feed, while bottle-fed newborns can receive probiotics by mixing these beneficial powders into a bottle of formula after hot water has been added. Parents can provide infants with probiotics by mixing them into their foods. Ideally newborns and infants can have one serve of probiotics a day. Probiotics are critical for any child who has been put on a course antibiotics as their natural gut flora or good bacteria ( the body’s defence system) will have been stripped away.
5. Minimise your usage of child’s dummy only for when they are going to bed or avoid completely.
This point has been discussed in the last two blogs.