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How your baby's growing
As your baby starts becoming more active, he'll appreciate comfy clothes. Opt for soft fabrics that won't chafe as he moves around. Loose, stretchy, and breathable clothing will give your energetic little one plenty of wiggle room.
Avoid clothes that have rough or scratchy seams; long ties, buttons, or bows (which could be a choking hazard); and anything else that gets in the way of your baby's sleeping, crawling, or playing.
- Learn more fascinating facts about your 6-month-old's development.
Your life: Eating well
Taking care of a baby can be exhausting. And heavy food can make you sleepy, so try to keep meals and snacks light and nutritious. Here are some other helpful tips:
Don't skip breakfast. Tempting though it may be to skip the morning meal when you're rushed, your body needs to refuel in the morning – especially after a night without sleep! Protein like eggs and slow-burning carbs with iron such as oatmeal with walnuts and raisins will give you energy to last all morning.
Eat your fruits and veggies. Keep raw fruit and veggies in your fridge or on your counter, ready to eat. Find ways to incorporate vegetables and fruit into your meals – for instance, by adding diced veggies to quesadillas and soups. Or make smoothies from fresh or frozen fruit, fruit juice or milk, and yogurt.
Look beyond junk food for pick-me-ups. After a quick burst of energy, chips and candy can leave you feeling more sluggish than before. Look for more nutritious high-energy alternatives such as almonds or peanuts, high-protein yogurt, and low-sugar energy bars. Buy trail mix or make your own with dried fruit, raisins, sunflower or pumpkin seeds, nuts, and coconut flakes or chocolate chips.
Count carbs in. Carbohydrates have gotten a bad rap in recent years, but they're a great source of energy and good for you if you eat moderate portions and make healthy choices. Try whole-wheat pasta, multigrain oatmeal, and wheat bread and crackers.
Drink healthy. Remember to stay hydrated by drinking lots of water. Fruit juices, soda, coffee drinks, and energy drinks are trickier – keep an eye on their sugar content, and avoid having too much caffeine, especially if you're breastfeeding.
Learn about: Asthma
What is asthma?
Asthma, the most common serious chronic disease among children, is an inflammation and narrowing of the airways that causes difficulty breathing. An asthmatic attack can be brought on by allergens, such as pollens, mold spores, and animal danders; airway pollutants (including cigarette smoke and paint fumes); viral respiratory infections; and occasionally exercise or inhaling cold air. Although asthma can be a serious and chronic health problem, most children with asthma are able to live normal, active lives with careful management. Its severity usually diminishes as the child grows and the airways enlarge.
What are some signs that my baby might have asthma?
Your baby may have asthma if she coughs a lot (especially at night) or has allergies, eczema, or a family history of these symptoms. Possible signs of an attack include rapid breathing, persistent coughing, wheezing, whistling or grunting when exhaling, sucking in the muscles around the ribs, flaring the nostrils with each breath, fatigue, and skin that turns blue.
If you think your baby is having an asthma attack or difficulty breathing – especially if she's pulling in at her neck, ribs, or abdomen upon inhalation or grunting when she exhales – immediately call 911 or take her to the emergency room. Also call for immediate help if her lips or fingertips appear blue or if she acts lethargic, agitated, or confused.
Although it's common for a cold to uncover a child's tendency to wheeze, a chronic nighttime cough more commonly indicates underlying asthma. Call your baby's doctor if your child has difficulty sleeping because of wheezing, coughing, or trouble breathing.
What should I do if my baby has asthma?
If the diagnosis is asthma, your baby's doctor will discuss the many ways this problem can be managed. Together you can figure out which situations are likely to trigger asthmatic attacks – perhaps respiratory ailments or something environmental, such as allergens or cigarette smoke. You'll also need to educate your baby's caregivers about her asthma and its treatment.
It can be helpful to try using a cool-mist vaporizer and to elevate your baby's head and neck by 30 degrees or more while she sleeps (by wedging a rolled-up towel under the crib mattress, for example).
Allergy testing can also be useful, as can removing allergens from the environment. You might consider eliminating rugs, curtains, and stuffed animals from your baby's room to decrease dust and dust mite exposure, for instance. You'll also need to educate your baby's caregivers about her asthma and its treatment.
Medical treatment includes inhaled bronchodilators to open the airways, anti-inflammatory medications to reduce airway inflammation, antibiotics if there's a secondary infection underlying an attack, and identification and avoidance of allergic triggers.
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