Jumaat, 15 November 2013

The Star Online: Lifestyle: Parenting

Klik GAMBAR Dibawah Untuk Lebih Info
Sumber Asal Berita :-

The Star Online: Lifestyle: Parenting

Bright start to life with breastfeeding


Breastfeeding your baby is the foundation to his lifelong health.

OH, your baby is looking cute and healthy!" Every parent loves to hear these words and would feel proud to see their baby grow and develop to his full potential, both mentally and physically.

Start them off on the right footing by giving them the proper nutrition. This is critical for your child, as the time from birth to his third birthday is the most "critical window" for early childhood development. More importantly, a sound start to life will bring about health benefits later in life.

All health authorities in the world, including the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Ministry of Health, Malaysia, have highlighted that breastfeeding is the best choice of nourishment for infants. It is recommended that mothers exclusively breastfeed their babies up to the first six months.

Babies experience the most growth and their weight generally doubles within the first four to five months of their lives.

This will increase almost four-fold by the time they are two years old. Helping your child meet his nutritional needs during this period will ensure his optimum health and survival.

Nature's gift... Breastfeeding gives baby a solid foundation in life.

Beautiful gift: Breastfeeding provides babies with the essential nutrients they need.

According to the WHO, if every child was breastfed within an hour of birth, and given only breast milk for the first six months of life, and continued to be breastfed till the age of two, about 220,000 lives would be saved every year.

Breast milk has the perfect combination of carbohydrate, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals, and contains all the essential nutrients that are important for your child's overall health. These nutrients, which include energy, vitamin A, vitamin B complex and important minerals such as iron and zinc.

It also contains essential fatty acids such as alpha linolenic acid (ALA) and linoleic acid (LA). These are required to produce docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and arachidonic acid (ARA) which are essential for the physical and mental development of your child, as well as substances which strengthen your baby's immune system.

The WHO points out that children and adolescents who have been breastfed perform better in intelligence assessments, and are also less likely to be overweight or obese adults.

Mums, too, benefit from breastfeeding as it helps them burn up the fat stored during pregnancy thus helping them get back in shape faster. Breastfeeding is also linked to a lower risk of type two diabetes, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and postpartum depression.

Despite the many benefits of breastfeeding, a 2006 National Health and Morbidity Survey revealed that only 14.5% of infants below six-months-old were breastfed, and that only 37.5% of infants were breastfed until the age of two.

Complementary feeding

By the time your baby is six months old, he should be provided with complementary feeding.

The WHO recommends supplementing your baby's exclusive breast milk diet with semi-solid and solid foods at this stage, to keep up with his increased energy and nutritional needs. At six-months-old, his digestive and renal functions are also mature enough to digest different types of semi-solid and solid foods.

Signs that show that your baby is ready for complementary feeding are when he demonstrates the ability to can control his tongue, starts teething, makes chewing motions with his mouth, and when he starts putting objects into his mouth.

Complementary foods will cater for one-third of your baby's daily energy needs when he is between six to eight months, almost half when he is between nine to 12 months, and over 60% once he is older than 24 months. Your baby's dependence on milk for his daily energy needs will dwindle over time.

Feeding your baby

When your baby is six months old and below, stick to exclusive breastfeeding, and: – feed on demand when he shows signs of hunger, – feed baby until he is satisfied on the first breast. Offer him the second breast if he is still hungry. – wake him to breastfeed if he sleeps too long (more than two hours), – breastfeed him throughout the day (and night) for a total of at least eight to 12 times a day. – Do not feed him any other liquids or water as breast milk is made up of 88% water and is sufficient for his needs. At six months, breast milk is no longer enough to meet the nutritional needs of the infant. From this age, complementary foods should be introduced to his diet. During this period, you should, continue breastfeeding your baby on demand while:

– introducing semi-solid and solid foods a bit at a time. Only one new food should be introduced at a time. Apply the four-day rule for each new type of food to help detect signs of food allergy your child may have.

– gradually increasing the frequency of his meals according to his age. Young children have small stomachs, so they should eat often, with an increasing number of times as they grow older.

On an average, complementary foods should be given as follows: two to three meals a day at six to eight months; and three to four meals a day at nine to 24 months.

- gradually changing the food texture and preparation method as he gets older. Giving him a variety of foods and gradually increasing the quantity will ensure that his nutritional needs are met.

Substitute to breastfeeding

For some mothers, breastfeeding may not be possible. This may be due to the mother's underlying medical problem, or when breast milk is not appropriate for the infant.

Medical conditions such as heart disease, anaemia, or a serious infection such as tuberculosis, can prevent a new mum from breastfeeding. HIV-infected mothers can also pass the virus to their child through breast milk.

Medications such as anti-thyroid drugs, chemotherapeutic agents, and mood-altering drugs can also be passed into breast milk and harm the baby.

Meanwhile, some mothers may experience difficulties in trying to breastfeed exclusively, such as low milk supply and is unable to meet their baby's increasing caloric demands.

Infants born with medical conditions like galactosemia, maple syrup urine disease (MSUD) and Phenylketonuria (PKU) will require substitution as they lack the ability to digest specific nutrient components found in breast milk. Special formula can help them meet their nutritional needs.

Besides that, infants with very low birth weight (those born weighing less than 1500g), and very preterm infants (those born less than 32 weeks gestational age) may also require supplementation for limited period in addition to breast milk (which remains the best feeding option). This need for supplementation also extends to infants who are at risk of hypoglycaemia (low blood pressure) due to impaired metabolic adaptation, and infants who demonstrate a downward growth curve.

When faced with these challenges, many mothers may have to turn to infant formula as a substitute or a supplement to their baby's diet. Most infant formulas today are fortified with the natural nutrients found in breast milk, which include a specific combination of nutrients such as iron, zinc and the fatty acids, DHA and ARA. Some studies have shown that infant formulas fortified with the right ratio of DHA & ARA may have a positive impact on the visual development in infants.

If mothers need to resort to infant formulas, they should consult a paediatrician or other health care professionals in the choice and proper use of such formulas.

A bright start will last for life

Inadequate nutrition can lead to growth faltering, deficiencies of certain micronutrients and common childhood illnesses in the first two years of your child's life. Several studies have also linked nutrient deficiencies to delayed mental and motor development, impairments in intellectual performance, work capacity, reproductive outcomes and overall health during adolescence and adulthood.

It is therefore vital that your baby receives the right nutrition at the right time in order to have a bright start to life. Provide him with exclusive breastfeeding till six months of age, followed by appropriate complementary foods while continue to breastfeed until a minimum of two years of age or beyond if you can manage it.

> This article is courtesy of BrightStart4Life, an expert-driven educational programme on infant and child nutrition initiated by Nutrition Society of Malaysia, the Malaysian Paediatrics Association, and the Malaysian Medical Association, and supported by the National Population & Family Development Board (LPPKN). For more information, call 03-5632 3301.

Dr Tee E Siong is the president of Nutrition Society of Malaysia.

Related story:

Pro-breastfeeding? More like patronising

Kids, start counting … to riches


Mastering maths early is the key to becoming wealthy.

TECH consultant Rudo Boothe, 33, attributes his professional success – anyone's professional success, actually – to having learned to read and perform basic maths at age four. So now with his own 19-month-old daughter, he makes sure to introduce those educational concepts at every turn.

From putting cans of tomato sauce in the supermarket cart to the backward countdown of the microwave timer, the duo these days is heavy into shapes and word-association.

"My attempt is to make numbers very important," Boothe said. "Greatness is the objective. To be phenomenal at age seven."

Boothe isn't competitively parenting for mere sport, but rather for investing in his child's future ability to make money – at least if you believe researchers in Scotland. Boothe, for his part, does put stock in University of Edinburgh findings that prove increased reading and math ability at age seven will directly correlate with bigger pay cheques later in life. And that these educational aptitudes are better predicators of income than even intelligence, education and socioeconomic status in childhood. American educators agree that early childhood education is critical for a lifetime of success, but offer their own proof as to why we shouldn't dare discount the other variables.

Still, they also offer real and free ways we can introduce fundamentals to our young kids today so they can soar financially tomorrow.

"Children who have acquired more skill in reading at age seven have a cascade of positive events," said Timothy Bates, a University of Edinburgh psychology professor, "and by adulthood are earning significantly more."

How much? Bates found an increase in one level of reading at age seven translated into an US$8,000 (RM25,500) increase in yearly earnings by age 45. In fact, after following 17,000 people in Britain over four decades, Bates saw that young subjects who were better at reading and maths still ended up having higher incomes, better housing and better jobs in adulthood than the kids who had perhaps higher IQs or richer parents, but read or performed maths at lower levels. And he expects that here in the United States, where our system is more merit-based, we'd see the same effect, only stronger.

"These findings imply that basic childhood skills, independent of how smart you are, how long you stay in school or the social class you started off in will be important throughout your life," Bates said.

Hold it right there, say a litany of US educators. They agree early learning is critical to career success and – in preferring to use third grade as a marker – say that it produces kindergarten-ready kids who will accelerate. But, they also point out that income will most certainly affect the outcome.

For starters, only 40% to 55% of American children attend quality pre-kindergarten programmes, said Libby Doggett, deputy assistant secretary of policy and early learning for the US Department of Education.

There, kids not only learn the basics of reading and maths but are also introduced to executive function skills, such as motivation and persistence.

"It's not about ability," Doggett said. "We create ability. And we create it early on."

The kids most likely to skip quality pre-K programmes are – you guessed it – poor children, said Greg J. Duncan, a professor at University of California-Irvine. That partly explains a gap, equivalent to about 20 IQ points or 120 SAT points, in reading and maths skills between the nation's richest 20% and poorest 20% of kindergarten-age kids.

Even worse, American schools are not a great equaliser because those in low-income areas tend to have teachers without tenure, behavioural problems that slow down entire classes and more mobile families, he said.

"Most of the gap comes from what goes on in the home," Duncan said. "It's not to say cognitive ability doesn't play a role, but much of the gaps are caused by differences in parenting practices."

Reading and maths lessons are easily disguised as exciting activities, said Silvia P. Tarafa, principal of the Key Biscayne K-8 Center in Florida, United States.

Most people read with kids, but don't forget to introduce nonfiction books about their interests, such as dinosaurs or sharks, she said. Bake cakes often, relying on your measuring cups or sticks of butter to help with fractions. At the store, compare prices together and try to pay cash for the subtraction equation you'll get in return.

Don't miss the opportunity to demonstrate that four quarters make a dollar, or any other useful coin combinations. When they paint pictures, frame the masterpieces, which requires measuring the length, width and perimeter, but feel free to calculate the area of the picture too.

"When a child has heard the concepts at an early age," Tarafa said, "that child will make a connection to the concept when it's introduced by a teacher."

Everyday maths

Tarafa said parents can play a role in introducing the important concepts into daily activities.

1. When packing for a trip, ask the child to bring three or four shirts and five pairs of pants, because number recognition – rather than counting on fingers – is critical.

2. Use the term "subtract", instead of "take away".

3. Together, read nonfiction books about the child's interest, such as sharks, cooking, outer space or dinosaurs.

4. At the store and online, always compare prices.

5. Pay with cash and discuss important coin combinations, such as how five 20 sen coins make a ringgit.

6. Bake brownies, using your measuring cup and sticks of butter as tools to teach fractions.

7. Let them open a savings account and see how interest compounds.

8. Measure the items you'll buy for your home, converting the lengths to metres.

9. Frame their artwork, but first, together measure the picture's length, width and perimeter.

10. Remember, there are some things – such as multiplication tables – that need to be memorised. – Miami Herald/McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

Music to every parent's ears


Music training may strengthen a child's brain for a lifetime.

PLAYING a musical instrument can cause fundamental changes in a child's brain and could improve the brain's functioning far into adulthood, new research finds.

Three new studies presented this week at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in San Diego, California, found that learning to play music can enhance a young person's ability to process information. In addition, music training can affect children's brains if they begin prior to the age of seven, and it can enhance connectivity between regions of the brain associated with creativity.

"Music might provide an alternative access into a broken or dysfunctional system within the brain," said Gottfried Schlaug, director of the Music and Neuroimaging Laboratory at Harvard Medical School, at the conference. "Music has the unique ability to go through alternative channels and connect different sections of the brain."

"Early musical training does more good for kids than just making it easier for them to enjoy music," Yunxin Wang of Beijing Normal University, head researcher of one of the studies, told the British newspaper The Guardian. "It changes the brain and these brain changes could lead to cognitive advances as well."

In that study, researchers took brain scans of 48 Chinese adults aged between 19 and 21, who had had at least a year of musical training as children. The team found that brain regions related to hearing and self-awareness were larger in those who had begun their musical training before age seven.

In another study, Swedish researchers performed MRI scans of 39 pianists who were asked to play a 12-key piano keyboard while their scans took place. Piano players who had experience in jazz improvisation showed more connectivity between three major regions of the brain's frontal lobe when they improvised music, said lead author Ana Pinho of Stockholm's Karolinska Institute. – AFP Relaxnews

Kredit: www.thestar.com.my

0 ulasan:

Catat Ulasan


The Star Online

Copyright 2010 All Rights Reserved