As parents we are bombarded from every direction on how to raise our kids. Questioning ourselves, at least in my life, is a daily occurrence and I think we can all agree that the amount of worry that goes along with raising a child is tremendous. The old saying of, “behind every great kid is a mom who is sure she is screwing it up” is my walking billboard. I constantly wonder, “Is this right? Should I give in to that? Do I cave in and let him eat that? To spank or not to spank? Vaccinate or not to vaccinate (…o isn’t that a can of worms- and NO I AM NOT GOING THERE). Those are just examples and we all know, truly, only the tip of the iceberg…anyone else exhausted yet?
While I do wonder about these things, I am actually writing to you about something I DON’T worry about; whether it is necessarily “right” or “wrong”. While it isn’t near as scandalous as the vaccination debate, I am talking about vitamins/supplements and homeopathic treatments that we may (or may not) use on our family and our personal experiences with them, and NO I am not trying to sell you anything.
Ever since Gray has started public school I go through the same debate with myself on whether or not to get him a flu shot. This year it didn’t happen, and with a 23% average effectiveness I think I made the right decision. Last year, he got one. The year before that, no shot (but thankfully no flu).
I have always felt that it was extremely important to get him a really good multivitamin along with a well-rounded diet. He eats veggies and whole food daily and doesn’t do traditional dairy (cottage cheese/greek yogurt exceptions), processed foods are kept minimal, though he DOES get them (so calm down before you start saying “poor Gray”….anyone that knows us, knows us well enough to know he is not deprived), and I am EXTREMELY regimented with his additional “supplements”. He has been taking a multivitamin for several years but within this last year, after research and more internal debate, I have added extra Vitamin C, a probiotic, Cal/Mag/Vitamin D and Elderberry Extract to his daily routine. Spread out over the day to increase bioavailability, I run the vitamins like clockwork around his meals and bedtime. I get a lot of questions about the Elderberry Extract and its intended use. I personally use it for an immunity booster. As I mentioned He didn’t get a flu shot, I instead started giving him Elderberry extract daily, and sometimes twice a day if I felt he was getting overtired or maybe starting to come down with something.
Do you think I am crazy? Maybe I am. All these things may just be one heck of a placebo sandwich but let me tell you something, Gray hasn’t hardly been sick at all (and, yes I am knocking on wood right this second). Am I saying he won’t get sick? No. I am saying up until this point he has been the healthiest kid in his class, unless you count the one day the school sent him home for having a fever I could never get to register with my thermometer and he laid around watching cartoons….and got a three day weekend (boys will be boys……..).
There has to be something to this.
Granted we take precautions, first thing that happens when we come in the house-we go wash our hands, especially after school. I don’t haphazardly give him his vitamins or stick to his diet. It is regulated and routine. If we are going outside and it is the least bit windy and cool, the kids’ ears are covered (you can all that superstition). I don’t take him to the Doctor, unless it is his yearly checkup or vaccinations (yes we vaccinate) and I will run from a script of antibiotics like IT is the plague unless I TRULY feel in my gut that he needs them (because, usually they do NOT NEED THEM). We haven’t used antibiotics, except for once, his is lifetime and I do not plan to start anytime soon (there goes that knocking on wood again).
I think sometimes people are surprised to hear that I shun “Western Medicine” so, especially working at the hospital. As a Respiratory Therapist I care for a large and diverse group of patients, from those just born to those in their last days and I see a trend. Most of my pediatric patients (actually this list could go for a lot of my patients) have a few things in common. Formula fed babies (I do believe that feeding the child is more important than how-for the record), Poor diet (obesity)…the school lunch experiment from a previous post comes to mind, lack of WATER (juice, milk or formula, pop-main liquids, poor lifestyle (lack of exercise), no routine (flying by the seat of the parent’s pants-they ARE the kids..), smoking in the home or is around them often, poor overall hygiene and improper dress for weather, poor education on covering coughs, washing hands, etc.
This isn’t always the case, sometimes I have patients that truly just get really sick. It happens, no matter how well the parents have taken care of them. I do not judge, I am just explaining where I see correlations and what I consider risk factors for having more problems with overall poor health.
Maybe I am imagining it, maybe I AM crazy and these things don’t help. But the way I see it, they damn sure aren’t hurting anything.
Maybe if you have wondered about getting your kids on a vitamin supplement or if there was a way to naturally increase their immunity and overall health, you should look into a few of these things. Do a little research and decide what you think works for YOU and YOUR family. I am not saying this stuff is fact, but in my house I honestly believe-it sure as hell isn’t crap either.
So as we all love to say, to each their own and go your own way!
In your Child’s Best Health,