This post was sponsored by Walgreens Cystic Fibrosis Services as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. I received compensation as a thank you for my post.
Am I setting a healthy lifestyle example for my children?
After my son, Bennett, was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis I really started taking a good look at my family’s lifestyle and areas we could improve to become healthier overall. For someone with Cystic Fibrosis, a healthy lifestyle can make a big difference in managing the disease. As his caregivers, my husband and I decided that we needed to do a better job at practicing what we preach so that Bennett can understand why these things are important for his health as he grows up.
Follow The Treatment Regimen
We feel that the number 1 thing that someone with Cystic Fibrosis can do is to follow their treatment plan prescribed by their healthcare team. We have found that administering treatments at the same time each day really helps with scheduling and remembering all of the medicines (because there are a lot!). If there are alternate plans that would mean we are out of the house at a usual treatment time then we are sure to adjust things so that they are never skipped. Once you find the schedule that works for your family be sure to stick to it. I think this will also really help Bennett as he grows up since he knows what to expect during the day.
Though Bennett is the only member of our family with Cystic Fibrosis we try to make treatment time fun by spending time together as a family. Putting an infant in to an inflatable vibrating vest and attempting to hold a mask over his mouth to nebulize his medication can sometimes prove VERY challenging. Like serious break-your-mama-heart crying because his 7 month old brain doesn’t understand why we have to do this. But we do our best to make it fun with singing, dancing, and goofing off. I think the hardest thing as a caregiver is continuing on with the treatments when Bennett is very upset by them. It is very tempting to just turn the machine off when he is crying but I know that sticking to our prescribed treatment regimen will do wonders for his health. So we carry on and try whatever we can to make it a happier experience for him.
Eat A Clean, Healthy Diet
A clean, healthy diet is beneficial for everyone, so as the meal planner for our family I’m taking steps to improve our diets. I do my best to purchase real foods, meaning minimal packaged foods and the less ingredients the better. Bennett is just beginning to explore solid foods now and is very interested in his meals. I’m excited to provide him with nourishing foods that will be easier for him to digest. My favorite baby food book, “Feeding Baby: Simple Approaches to Raising a Healthy Baby and Creating a Lifetime of Nutritious Eating” is written by a pediatric registered dietitian and focuses on giving baby real foods in a variety of flavors right from the start. I love the recipes ideas!
Bennett has really thrived on breastmilk and that continues to be the majority of his calorie intake but he is also enjoying purees of organic meats, veggies, fruits, and oils of coconut and olive added in to his meals. I hope that by introducing him to a variety of tastes as an infant that he will continue to enjoy exploring new tastes and eat a wide diet filled with fresh foods. From the adults with Cystic Fibrosis that we have had the chance to meet we have learned that a healthy diet really makes a difference and causes less digestive discomfort that is associated with the thick mucus cause by CF.
Make Physical Activity Fun
Physical activity is important for everyone. Our whole family can benefit from getting up and moving. Being active can also be a means of airway clearance for those with Cystic Fibrosis. Airway clearance is the nice way of referring to breaking up all the mucous in the lungs so it can be coughed up. We use the inflatable vest twice a day (or more during illness) to do this, but physical activity is one of the best ways to help clear out mucous. As adults we can sometimes view exercise as tedious and time consuming but it really can include fun activities. Go for family hikes, hit up the local trampoline jump place, sign your kids up for a team sport, or just let them run wild in the back yard. For infants who are too young to walk time spent in a jumper can be both fun and help with moving mucous around. It’s important for the whole family to get moving and finding fun ways to do that will encourage a lifetime of activity.
Don’t Forget To Enjoy Life
Though we will never be able to live a day without Cystic Fibrosis being a part of our lives that doesn’t mean that it needs to be our primary focus. We will support and encourage Bennett in whatever it is that he wishes to do. Life should be fun and by maintaining a healthy lifestyle it will keep any dreams within reach.
My Advice For Other Caregivers
As a caregiver for a child with Cystic Fibrosis the most important thing that you can do is to set a good example. Be present during your child’s treatments and make them quality time, choose to eat nourishing meals and snacks, and do physical activities that you enjoy.
To meet the other CF Champions Ambassadors and learn more about Cystic Fibrosis Services from Walgreens visit the Walgreen’s CF Champions: Navigating The Journey, Together website.
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