Wednesday, October 23, 2019

5 ways to manage or prevent leg cramps

Although it is very common to have leg cramps it is NOT normal.  Pregnant women tend to get them more frequently than the general population but that is solely due to the fact that their bodies are even more depleted of key nutrients because it all goes to that precious baby first.  Getting regular chiropractic adjustments is crucial to keeping your body aligned during pregnancy and non-pregnancy.  I would also highly recommend incorporating these 5 things into your daily routine.  

1.  Minerals!  

Cramping is a sign your body is depleted in micronutrients.  Most common ones would be Calcium, Magnesium and Potassium.  Finding a good supplement might be the easiest way to replenish these nutrients.  I carry all sorts of options for that in the office.  BUT getting some of it in your diet is very important too.  Rich in minerals are green leafy vegetables such as spinach or kale, bananas, nuts, beans, avocados, and seeds.  

2. Hydrate!  

Drinking WATER is a super important daily task.  You have to make it part of your schedule.  Carry a water bottle around with you if you need to.  I also like to enjoy herbal teas during the day to help with getting more fluids.  If you aren't drinking water right now I would not recommend starting out drinking the recommended daily amount (typically half your body weight in ounces) right away.  It should be a gradual increase to allow your systems to get used to the idea of increased fluids.  You might also notice that the more water you drink the more thirsty you feel.  This is totally normal. Your body is finally feeling hydrated and it craves water again.  If you haven't been drinking enough water your body stops telling you that you are thirsty because it tried and wasn't answered.  

3.  Stretch!  

If you stretch at least twice per day (upon rising, and before bed) you can help with the nighttime leg cramps.  To stretch your calf muscle you can use the wall or a chair.  See picture below of a wall stretch.  It is best to do the stretch with your back leg straight and bent since it stretches two different calf muscles.  

4.  Exercise! 

Going for light walks, yoga, and swimming can all be excellent ways to get your body moving while you are pregnant or otherwise.  Find something that is enjoyable for you and put it in your schedule to do it.  Let's face it... life is busy!  But we need to take time out of our busy schedules to make our body a priority.  Start with 20 minutes a couple times per week and work up to at least 30 minutes per day if you can.  Always check with your health care provider if you have any restrictions. 

5.  Epsom Salt!

A relaxing way to get your salts replenished is through an Epsom Salt bath.  (Make sure the water temperature is not too hot during pregnancy.)  Pour about a 1/2 cup of Epsom salt into the bath as the water is filling in the tub.  Soak for 30 minutes.  I also sell an excellent Epsom salt lotion at my office that can be massaged into the problem areas.  

If you are interested in seeing Dr. Felicia Conner at Child and Family Chiropractic click here.  

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Starting solid foods

Introducing Solids

This topic seems to be very confusing to most moms because everywhere you turn people have their opinion on this subject, the opinions change from year to year, and new moms are terrified to have their babies choke.  I am going to help you to navigate through 6 myths that will make introducing foods a whole lot more fun. 

Myth #1:  Babies should start solids at 4 months old. 
Babies are not ready for solid foods at 4 months old. Period. Even if they have teeth at 4 months old.  Babies should be able to sit up with their head upright solidly, pick food up between two fingers, move the food to their mouths, have an interest in eating food, and most likely have a tooth or two.  This is usually closer to the 6th month mark, but can be a lot longer.  

Myth #2:  Babies first food should be rice cereal.  
Rice cereal has no actual nutrient value.  It may be fortified with iron but that is not an optimal source of iron.  Breastmilk and formula are better options.  Additionally, it is never recommended to put rice cereal in a bottle, it does not help babies to sleep longer.  

Myth #3:  You should only introduce one food at a time to monitor an allergic reaction. 
This is old school thought.  New Research now indicates introducing a few foods is okay and introducing common allergens between the ages of 6 and 9 months is optimal.  If there is a reaction you can eliminate if needed.  Starting with avocados, bananas, eggs, sweet potato, etc are fun first foods.  Try to introduce foods that you are also eating.  If you are having eggs for breakfast, then give some to your baby.  If you are having sweet potato with dinner, have them eat with you too.  Meals are just as much about social interaction as they are about nourishment.  Encourage eating to happen as a family.  

Myth #4: Babies should start with pureed food. 
Pureed food is not a necessary food.  This stage is just to help some babies get used to textures of food, but not a necessary step.  If you wait to introduce foods you can simply skip this step all together.  The primary food in the first year of life should be breastmilk or formula period.  So before solid foods are introduced at every meal it should start with breastmilk or formula first since most of their nutritional and caloric intake come from these foods they need to come first.  So a typical feeding for breakfast would be breastmilk or formula then maybe a small bowl of avocado or bananas.  I know with my first baby I had time to make and freeze pureed food and did that with her.  The last 3 kids we introduced solids much later and had fun eating as a family.  It took the stress out of feeding times, etc.  We enjoyed it.  

Myth #5: Babies should start with vegetables so they don't love sweet foods first.  
Breastmilk has an array of flavors with each feeding.  No "meal" tastes the same.  Breastfed babies are used to a variety of flavors.  Formula babies not as much.  But babies will enjoy certain foods more than others.  Keep introducing foods 3-4 times before you give up on that food.  Babies might need time to get used to a certain flavor.  And it is really normal for a baby to gag on foods in the beginning while they are learning to transfer foods from the front of their mouth to the back and then to swallow.  

Myth #6:  All food should be cut up really small.  
Handing your child something that is too big to choke on but able to pick up and hold to take bites out of it is much safer for your baby.  Great examples is a whole banana vs cut up pieces.  Some exceptions to this are grapes, and hotdogs (not a fan of hotdogs but they are a summer staple).  Babies will learn to put appropriate sized bites in their mouths much faster.  Again, babies might seem to choke or gag a little periodically, but they are learning to eat.  It is a learned and practiced skill.  

If you would like to learn more about natural baby led weaning I would recommend you check out: 
Now have some fun!  Have some conversations!  Enjoy time as a family!  

Dr. Felicia, DC, DICCP