Is Your Baby Ready for Solid Foods?

Baby Solid Foods

By Eirian Hallinan

You’ve been noticing that other moms in your baby group have started their babies on solid foods and wonder if you should do the same. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends breastfeeding exclusively for approximately 6 months and then introducing solids gradually. But how gradually should you do this? And how do you know that your baby is indeed ready to make the switch to solids since not all babies are the same? And what should you feed them? The following will tell you everything you need to know.

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Arsenic in Your Baby’s Rice Cereal and Other Rice Products

By Lisa Pecos

Rice isn’t just a staple in most adult diets, but it’s also a big part of many infant’s diets too, commonly by way of rice cereal, which many parent’s use when introducing their babies to solid foods. Parents may want to look for a better alternative to rice cereal based on mounting evidence connecting inorganic arsenic in white and brown rice to immune system damage and intellectual development in children.

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Lactation 101

lactation

by Alicia Kenny

New baby? Lactation, or breastfeeding, is not only a natural, healthy way to provide the perfect mix of nutrients, hormones and proteins for your newborn, but it also creates an invaluable opportunity for mother and child to bond and develop emotional intimacy. Here are the basics:

  1. Establish breastfeeding within the first week of your baby’s birth and remember that the breasts work by “supply and demand” so you don’t have to wait for the milk to come before starting. (And colostrum, the yellowy substance secreted by the breast in the very beginning, gives your baby protection against disease!)
  2. Do your best to stay relaxed and comfortable while breastfeeding, giving Baby plenty of comforting skin contact and soft words. If necessary, help open Baby’s mouth with your finger and gently guide his or her mouth to the breast.
  3. Let Baby suck on one breast until it feels empty or for about 10-15 minutes, then offer the other one. Don’t be afraid to breastfeed whenever Baby is hungry which will probably be eight or more times per day, and unless your doctor tells you otherwise, give your baby nothing other than breast milk for the first six months. The American Dietetic Association says that, “Exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months and breastfeeding with complementary foods for at least 12 months is the ideal feeding pattern for infants.”

Besides the emotional and psychological benefits of lactation for both you and your little one, there are numerous positive physical effects for the two of you as well. For one thing, breast milk, which has been called the “gold standard of infant nutrition,” contains fatty acids essential to healthy cognitive development and visual acuity. Breastfed babies have a decreased likelihood of developing intestinal infection, eczema, allergies and dental problems. Mother’s milk contains antibodies that help protect the baby from illness and in the case of premature and critically ill babies, it is extremely important not only for the infant’s nutrition but also for the child’s very survival. Breastfeeding may also help prevent childhood obesity!

Lactation is of great value to mothers also. Postpartum hemorrhage is prevented and uterine involution (the return to a non-pregnant state) is promoted. Breastfeeding mothers also have a decreased risk of developing breast cancer, ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, heart disease and iron-deficiency anemia. Breastfeeding will help prevent another pregnancy from occurring within the first six months after his or her birth ensuring that the mother will have plenty of time to recover physically before her next pregnancy. Finally, as milk production uses an average 200-500 calories per day, breastfeeding can contribute to the loss of excess weight gained during pregnancy, a boon that has given many new moms something else to smile about! If you do make the choice to breastfeed, be sure to discuss your decision with your pediatrician or lactation consultant. Also, be aware of organizations and consultants that exist to help you with questions or problems that may arise. Two such resources are:

  1. La Leche League International – (800) LALECHE
  2. International Lactation Consultant Association – (919) 861-5577

Safe, Nutritious, Home-Made First Foods for Baby

Home-Made First Foods for Baby

Great, Healthy Home-Made Foods to Start Your Baby on Solids

The recent news report about a small piece of glass having been found in a jar of Beech-Nut baby food is enough to send chills down a new mom’s spine.

What if you want to be sure about the quality control in the food you’ll feed your 6-month-old when that time comes? What if you want to prepare your own baby foods?

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Nursing Moms, the Let-Down Reflex and Milk Supply

Breastfeeding_mom

New moms may have the best intentions in wanting to breastfeed their newborns; but sometimes, nursing the baby doesn’t happen so effortlessly. This can lead both mom and infant to feel discouraged and want to give up trying.

But don’t give up! Your breast milk carries in it a large assortment of vital, life-sustaining nutrients, germ-fighting immunity cells, hormones, and many strains of beneficial bacteria that will colonize your baby’s gastrointestinal tract and aid digestion, as well as prevent allergies later on.

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More Parents Are Refusing Vitamin K Shots for Their Newborns Amid Fears of Reactions

Pills, syringe and thermometer.

A recent study from the University of Calgary has found that increasing numbers of parents are refusing to consent to their newborns receiving a shot of vitamin K at birth, due to fears about possible reactions to the high single dose of the vitamin, as well as the other ingredients that come with it.

Vitamin K is necessary for normal blood-clotting in both adults and children; however, babies are usually born with insufficient amounts of the vitamin in their system, as it doesn’t cross very well from the mother’s blood through the placenta. The mother’s diet does not affect the levels of vitamin K that her baby is born with to any large degree.

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Breast Milk Protects Newborns Against Deadly Intestinal Tract Disease

Breast Milk

As recently as the 1950’s, American moms were being told that formula was better for their babies than breast milk. A lot of moms bought into that fallacy, and more and more babies started being fed formula, instead of breast milk, even in the decades that followed. Food allergies subsequently exploded in numbers, and other potentially deadly newborn digestive diseases also saw a rise in incidences.

But in recent years, scientists have uncovered an increasing number of reasons why breast milk is in fact the perfect food for a baby — yet another case where Mother Nature knew best, after all.

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Is It Safe to Eat Canned Tuna During Pregnancy?

Tuna Sandwich Ingredients

You may have heard about the recent recommendation from Consumer Reports that all pregnant and nursing women avoid all types of tuna, due to concerns about mercury exposure for the unborn baby or newborn. This has a lot of women, and even some doctors, confused about whether to nix all tuna for pregnant or nursing women, or whether it is still safe to consume some tuna varieties.

Until now, public health experts agreed that albacore tuna (the white variety) was unsafe, due to its higher mercury content. But chunk “light” tuna (the darker kind) was always recommended as safe, so long as it was eaten in moderation. In fact, only in June of this year, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration issued a joint recommendation that pregnant or nursing women eat a minimum of 8 to 12 ounces (2-3 servings) of low-mercury fish per week. Canned light tuna was included on the list of these safer fish that pregnant or nursing women could consume.

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Phthalates Were Removed from Babies’ Toys in U.S., but Infants Still Get Them in Excess from Foods

BPA Free Label Illustration

A study has found that babies are getting twice the amount of harmful phthalates in their diets that the Environmental Protection Agency considers to be safe.

Phthalates are man-made chemicals used to make plastics softer and more flexible; they can be found in storage containers, water bottles, electronics, vinyl curtains and floors, plastic toys and many other consumer products.

But a number of studies on animals over the years linked phthalates to premature birth, low birth weight, lower sperm counts and anatomical defects in male genitalia. In addition, they remain in human tissue over time; studies have found that almost every person tested in the United States has the chemicals in their system.

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Is It Safe for My Baby to Eat Garlic?

Baby girl  wearing a chef hat with vegetables and pan. Use it for a child, healthy food concept

Perhaps you’re a parent who’s hip to the many health-promoting benefits of eating whole natural foods and nutritious home-cooked meals. And maybe you know what a marvelously healthy and nutrient-packed food garlic is. So, you’re anxious to introduce garlic to your baby. But how long should you wait?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends waiting until your baby is at least six months old, before starting solid foods. The purpose of that is to help prevent the development of food allergies in your child. So, you want to wait until your infant is at least six months to give them garlic.

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