Stories about: infants

What are the healthiest options for my baby’s first solid foods?

Best solid foods for baby.In an effort to prevent food allergies, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has recommended introducing white rice cereal as an infant’s first food for years. Bland rice cereal was felt to be unlikely to cause digestive problems or allergies. Doctors suggested delaying a baby’s exposure to some of the more common food allergy triggers—milk, eggs, fish and nuts—until a child is between 1 and 3 years old, because they worried that exposure too early would stress a child’s immune system and increase the risk of developing allergies.

However, during the years that these recommendations were in effect, the number of children with food allergies skyrocketed. And, during this same time period, the rates of childhood obesity multiplied.

Is this a coincidence? Probably not.

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Feeding your new baby

By Susan Laster, MD, a primary care physician with the Pediatric Physicians’ Organization at Boston Children’s who practices in Brookline, Mass.

hen your baby is born, one of the first responsibilities you’re faced with as a new parent is feeding her. But feeding decisions can cause anxiety for new mothers and fathers who are unsure about what the healthiest options are for their newborn.

“Should we breast feed or bottle feed? 

 Can I pump my breast milk?

 Is it OK to offer breast milk in a bottle? 

Is it the right time for her to eat this?”

Unfortunately, like most child-rearing, there is no such thing as a universal, one-size-fits-all answer to many of these questions. But, with some guidance and a little homework, you can make confident, informed feeding decisions that work best for your family.

One way to look at feeding is to view it as the first stage of your child’s lifelong relationship with food. And as a parent, it’s your introduction into meal planning, which will become something you’ll think about throughout her entire childhood. If our ultimate feeding goal is to raise kids who become adults who enjoy eating and can prepare tasty, healthy meals, then the foundation of that relationship starts in infancy. 

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Pediatrics studies SIDS risk in African American families

Lois Lee, MD, MPH

The excitement of decorating a baby’s room is a wonderful rite of passage for every parent. It’s also a big business for manufacturers. If you look in any baby related catalog, the choices for furniture, bedding and toys seems unlimited. But even though having so many options for matching sheets, blankets, crib bumpers and stuffed animals for your baby’s crib may seem appealing, these items put infants at increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)* as well as suffocation, strangulation and entrapment.

It is well known that there are significant disparities in some medical conditions between different races and ethnicities, and SIDS risks are no exception. In infants born to black mothers, the rate of SIDS is more than twice that of white, non-Hispanic infants.  In addition, black infants have much higher rates of death due to accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed, often caused by unsafe bedding items.

To better understand the reasons why the use of soft bedding is more prominent in black families, researchers from Children’s National Medical Center in Washington D.C. recently conducted a study of infant bedding practices in black mothers. It’s hoped that by compiling this type of data, the medical community can better identify and educate at-risk families, resulting in safer infant sleep surfaces in the United States.

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Public health benefits of breastfeeding

Breast FeedingKimberly Barbas, BSN, RN, IBCLC, is a lactation specialist at Children’s Hospital Boston’s  Lactation Support Program.

How much does breastfeeding cost? How much money can be saved? In today’s health reform climate, it’s always about the bottom line. So for those of us who have for years championed breastfeeding as one of the best choices moms can make for the health of their children, a new study by Dr. Melissa Bartick and Arnold Reinhold in this week’s journal Pediatrics provides the financial data to support the choice to breastfeed exclusively for at least the first six months of a child’s life.

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