Ever since my wife gave birth to twins I’ve been going through the predictable motions of trying to give my kids a perfect head start, and protecting them from anything and everything. Even my wife tells me I can get paranoid sometimes, so I’ve been trying to readjust to my sons’ toddlerhood bit by bit.
One of the ways I’ve been trying to adjust is on the issue of sanitation. These days parents use antiseptics to sanitize their homes and antibacterial soaps which are advertised as being able to eliminate 99% of bacteria. We are told by companies selling cleaning products that bacteria are harmful to children and that these cleaning products can prevent illness and infection, but the truth is that immune systems are a lot like a muscle, in that they don’t work that great without exercise. I guess I already knew that, but I got a little caught up in being a dad.
So I’m on the hunt for ways to be less of a helicopter dad, and part of that is allowing the boys a bit of exposure to getting dirty. One thing I’ve been interested in lately is probiotic supplements, which are bacteria you’d normally find in yoghurts and stuff, but these microorganisms also live naturally in the human digestive tract and deliver all sorts of beneficial effects. The supplements aren’t really adding anything that isn’t normally there, but just insuring that it is, and believe me, having the right bacteria in your gut is pretty important.
Sometimes I worry that mine and my wife’s obsession for clean living is doing more harm than good. Antibiotics for example can seriously mess you up down there, which is why people taking them often get queasy and experience digestive difficulties. The kids are a bit young (and healthy) for that kind of medication, but not too young to occasionally get stomach sick.
Right now we’re using Bio-K+ supplements in the milk strawberry flavor which my sons gobble down like Flintstone vitamins. The fact that they’re tasty makes it a non-issue for the kids to have them in the morning, and I don’t really think of it as anything more complicated than a carton of milk or a juicebox.
This post has been contributed by Manuel Cadsuane.