Cold and flu season is no joke. Especially this year. As we all know, this year’s (2018) flu season has been the worst we’ve seen, and it has caused more illnesses and deaths of children. Terrifying! As a mother to a three-month-old, I have been worried about exposing my son to these germs and want to do everything I can to keep him healthy and safe.
Recently I was invited to a webinar by Stonyfield featuring Dr. Tanya Altmann MD, FAAP, about keeping babies healthy during cold and flu season. Dr. Tanya is a pediatrician, best-selling author, mother of three, spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics, Assistant Clinical Professor at Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA, and trusted voice of Stonyfield YoBaby yogurt. I immediately signed up for the webinar and am grateful that I did!
I pulled up my chair, grabbed my Stonyfield Greek yogurt as a snack, and was ready to learn! I picked up a lot of great tips from Dr. Tanya and wanted to share with you the five key points that will help us all keep our kids healthy during this scary time of the year.
We all know that sleep is critical when it comes to fighting off illnesses. Dr. Tanya emphasizes that if our babies are not getting enough sleep, they cannot fight colds or infections. She recommends that babies get on a good sleep schedule and create a consistent nap time and bedtime routine. She also said that we need to keep TVs, iPads, and all screens out of their bedrooms to help them sleep soundly.
If you’re not sure how much sleep your child should be getting, here are the recommended hours:
- Infants 4-11 months = 12-15 hours
- Toddlers 1-2 years = 11-14 hours
- Preschoolers 3-5 years = 10-13 hours
- School age 6-13 years = 9-11 hours
Nutritional food is nature’s medicine. The better our kids are fed (with well-balanced meals), the stronger their bodies become.
When it comes to breakfast, we should have protein in the morning, no matter what age. Some examples are eggs, yogurt, nut butter, whole-grain oatmeal, protein pancakes, etc. We all need this for our brains to focus. This also helps stabilize our blood sugar and keeps us fuller.
Other meals? Fruits and vegetables should be included with every meal and snack. She encourages families to buy whole foods as much as possible. If it had a life, it’s good for you. No surprise there! But when buying other food products, read the labels. An easy rule about ingredients that Dr. Tanya said that I love is, “Five or less is best. More than 10, think again.” That’s definitely a good tip when purchasing groceries for the family. Another rule of thumb that she shared, no fake colors before noon, if at all.
Dr. Tanya is a big fan of Stonyfield YoBaby yogurts for her patients and her kids. She said that it’s a great option for babies and kids because it’s certified organic, made without artificial hormones, toxic persistent pesticides, and GMOs, and there are no fake colors or artificial sugars in YoBaby. It is the #1 pediatrician recommended yogurt for babies and kids 6 months to 2 years old among refrigerated yogurts! She also loves that they use plant-based cups (PLA cups), which eliminates the concern of polystyrene packaging. Plus, it has a lower carbon footprint. It was interesting to learn that Stonyfield is the ONLY organic baby yogurt with a cup made from plants. They do this because they don’t want anything else in their cups besides delicious organic yogurt for our babies. 🙂
Another reason why Dr. Tanya recommends Stonyfield YoBaby yogurts is that it has BB-12 probiotics for happy tummies. BB-12® has been shown to benefit digestive health when consumed regularly as part of a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle by promoting beneficial gut bacteria and regular, soft stools.
The best way our children should be getting their vitamins and nutrients is through their food. What do our children need?
- Vitamin D — get an extra 400-600 units of Vitamin D every day.
- We used to get this through sun exposure from being outdoors, but we are spending less and less time outside. You can supplement this with milk, yogurt, eggs, etc. It helps our immune systems stay strong and develop strong bones. Everyone needs extra Vitamin D.
- Dr. Tanya says that if you are already feeling sick, double the dose of Vitamin D. Adults should take 1,000-2,000 units.
- Vitamin C — Vitamin C can help prevent and shorten the duration of sickness. Dr. Tanya recommends two clementines a day, especially during cold and flu season.
- Probiotics — every day for all ages!
- YoBaby has added probiotics, which are great for gut health.
- Omegas — if you’re not eating fish three times a week, you probably need more.
- You can get your omegas from salmon, egg yolks, through a supplement, and mushroom capsules (take two every day).
- Dr. Tanya says that if you feel like you’re getting sick, double your doses.
Keeping our kids active is important! It’s recommended that children need at least 60 minutes of exercise or active play a day. The best way to make that happen is to make it fun! Play with your kids. The more your children see you being active and a good role model for health, the more they want to do the same.
Stay clean. Germs are everywhere. But if you teach your children about hygiene, this can limit the number of germs they are exposed to. Here are some rules to share with them:
- Wash your hands.
- Kids should sing the song “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” twice or say the whole alphabet while washing their hands. This is the best way to ensure our hands are clean.
- Don’t touch your face.
- Did you know that on average, we touch our faces 2,000 to 3,000 times per day? That’s 2 to 5 times a minute! Try to be mindful of this since this is a major way that we can become sick.
- Disinfect all surfaces.
- Our children will certainly not do this, but this is something that we can do to help them stay healthy.
- Cover coughs and sneezes.
- This is a tip that we need to teach our children at a young age. Cover their sneezes and coughs not with their hands, but with a tissue, in their upper sleeve or the inside of their elbow.
- Use tissues.
- When you are coughing, sneezing, or needing to blow your nose, use a tissue. This is the best way not to spread germs since you will then throw that tissue away.
- Stay home when sick.
- This is a lesson that even adults need to learn. Staying home is the best thing when you do get sick. Your body needs rest and nourishment to help you recover. This will also limit the chances of other people getting sick too.
I learned some great things during this webinar and am so grateful that Stonyfield and Dr. Tanya got together to present this information to parents like me. I hope this information helps keep you and your kiddos healthy this cold and flu season and all year long!