Raising a Healthy Baby

Randall Neustaedter, OMD, LAc, CCH, and author of The Holistic Baby Guide, zeroes in on what's important
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quickTakes

Q: What's your favorite way to unwind?

A: I like to go to music concerts and see young bands with a lot of creative energy.

Q: What supplements are essential to your daily regimen?

A: Vitamins D and K2, omega-3 fats, resveratrol, and CoQ10. These are really good anti-aging, antioxidant supplements.

Q: What are your favorite foods?

A: I eat foods for their nutritional value, not pleasure. My diet is high in protein-mostly from animal sources and whey protein powder-and vegetables and fruits. I eat no grains or desserts, drink water, and get lots of exercise.

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Q: What motivates you?

A: I'm inspired when I see people increase their level of health. They're happy and energetic, and they stay relatively free of symptoms that impair their lives.

Parents always want the best for their babies, but today's world presents some confusing choices. Randall Neustaedter has been specializing in child health care for more than 25 years. He is a doctor of Oriental medicine, licensed acupuncturist, certified in classical homeopathy, and the father of five children, ranging in ages from 9 to 37. Here, he offers health advice to parents.

Q:How do you strengthen a baby's immune system?

A: First, breast feed-exclusively if at all possible. Research shows that exclusive breast feeding for the first six months protects a baby against infections for at least 12 months. But adding formula can negate the protective effect, possibly because many formulas contain unhealthy fats, corn syrup, and highly processed milk proteins. For formulas, use recipes in my Child Health Guide or at westonaprice.org, and, as long as your baby isn't sensitive or allergic to dairy products, add a half-teaspoon of powdered colostrum from cows that aren't fed pesticides or other toxic chemicals.

Second, give them vitamin D-about 35 IU per pound of body weight-and let them get some sun. Natural sunscreen, with zinc oxide, is appropriate if kids are out in the middle of the day at the pool or at camp all day, but I don't think it's a good idea to use sunscreen daily because it prevents absorption of vitamin D.

Q:How can you prevent or naturally treat common infant problems?

A: Digestive problems, such as reflux or colic; allergies, in the form of eczema or asthma and recurrent infections, such as colds or ear infections, are the most common. A baby's digestive system is weak and easily stressed. Antibiotics, taken by the mother or baby, destroy healthy intestinal bacteria and disrupt the immune system. Taking vitamin D during pregnancy decreases infections and allergies in babies.

Creating a healthy digestive system will reduce all the common problems. A mother can take probiotics during pregnancy, and you can add liquid or powdered probiotics-about 20 to 30 billion colony forming units (CFUs) per day-to formula or breast milk. Look for broad-spectrum probiotics with lactobacillus and bifido bacteria.

Q:Are other supplements important for babies?

A: Babies need DHA for development of the brain and nervous system. If a baby is exclusively breast fed, the mother can take 600 to 1,000 mg of DHA daily from fish oil or algae, or a total of 200 to 300 mg of krill oil. Otherwise, you can give a baby 200 mg daily of DHA from fish oil or algae, or 1 teaspoon of flax oil daily.

Q:What are some of the most valuable lessons you can pass on to parents?

A: As you introduce solid food to your baby's diet (see cure-guide.com), it should be fresh, whole food as it comes from nature-not processed-and organic where possible, especially for the most heavily sprayed produce (see list at foodnews.org). Certainly avoid corn syrup and artificial colors and flavoring.

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