So, I was going to delay this topic for an unknown length of time because I wanted to write about other things – like, the nutritional changes breastmilk goes through after your baby is 12 months old, the physiological changes that toddlers undergo to indicate readiness to start potty training, etc. because I planned on nursing Jia until she was 18 months old.
But, since I’m getting a bit anxious to get my body back to myself I figured – hey – as long as I was reading up on it, may as well write about it! (And besides, we clocked in an entire 14.5 months of 4 nursing sessions a day.)
First Things First – What’s Recommended? Continue reading
For part 1, click here!
Well, for the better half of Jia’s first year, I was slightly obsessive over taking precautionary measures to minimize Jia’s risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). SIDS is the sudden death of an infant less than 1 year of age that occurs during sleep, that is unexplained after investigation through an autopsy. And in 2010, according to the National Vital Statistics System at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, SIDS is the #3 leading cause of infant death in the United States. (Congenital malformations (deformations and chromosomal abnormalities) and short gestation/low birth weight were the first and second causes, respectively.)1 (this is the most current death data available)
A triple-risk model (how a combination of 3 contributing risk factors) for SIDS was published in an issue of Pediatrics2, and defined vulnerable infants as the following:
Image from Trachtenberg et al., Pediatrics; 2012. 129(4): 630-638.
As you can see from the image, “genetic polymorphisms” in the “vulnerable infant” category is a harder one to really pinpoint or know unless you had extensive genetic analysis performed or knew that SIDS deaths ran in your family. Babies in the critical developmental period are those infants <1 year, and exogenous stressors are environmental/situational things that can play a role.
The Back to Sleep/Safe to Sleep Campaign3 reminds us that SIDS is:
- NOT Death by suffocation
- NOT caused by vaccines/immunizations/shots
- NOT caused by vomiting or choking
- NOT completely preventable (though measures can be taken that greatly reduce the risk)
- NOT caused by cribs
I studied maternal and child health for years and worked in public health long enough that the “Back to Sleep”/Safe to Sleep Campaign burned a permanent slogan into my head, when it came to the topic of infant sleep. After all, according to a research study by Trachtenberg, et al., the Back to Sleep Campaign, which began in 1994 by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, almost immediately and significantly reduced the number of SIDS deaths by more than 50% over the course of 10 years after its inception.2
So obviously, since the arrival of Jia, we had to be sure we were taking all measures to make sure everything was done right. Continue reading
So I’ve been scrambling my head trying to come up with a simple topic for this week’s post that didn’t involve lots of researching, since I lost a day this week from Jeff and my wedding anniversary. (He took Monday off so we could stay overnight at National Harbor to celebrate, so I kept thinking I had an extra day) I am also trying to keep track of my ideas for posts as they pop up into my head, but most of the time that happens when I’m driving or at the grocery store; some place where it’s not that convenient to jot down my thoughts.
So, after being sick twice in 30 days (the first was that nagging and uncomfortable sinus cold-turned bronchitis spiel I had that lasted 10 days at the end of February and then my recent bout with the stomach virus that seems to be going around practically everywhere), I wanted to highlight what I’ve learned from being a breastfeeding mom + being sick.
So here goes… Continue reading
Fa La La La La!! ‘Tis the season for giving, so I thought, hey this would be an appropriate topic to cover!
I very recently ran into a new mom (Hi, Christa!) at Buy Buy Baby who isn’t able to feed her newborn breastmilk due to a protein intolerance. She expressed her disappointment that her frozen milk is going unused. So, I suggested milk banking. After voicing her interest in the topic, I mentioned Little Sproutings (of course) and the post I’d written earlier that mentioned milk banking (“Boobienomics: Nature’s Supply & Demand). One of my loyal Sprout readers also suggested the topic, so how could I not dedicate a post to something I feel so proud to have been a part of?
A quick bit about my experience: I donated almost 600 ounces of milk to The King’s Daughters Milk Bank, in Norfolk VA after we realized we couldn’t feed any of my pumped milk to Jia. If you recall, we went through a process of eliminating dairy and soy from my diet (see: My Little Soy-Free Dairy-Free Sprout) so the milk I’d pumped couldn’t be given to her. I had a freezer almost entirely filled with frozen bags of milk (and no room left for food)! The milk bank I contacted made the process quick and painless!
So for those of you who have been lucky to have a supply like I was/am, your little one is past the point of breastfeeding and you’ve got a stash, or if your baby isn’t able to drink the milk you have saved up, here’s some info about a wonderful thing you can do with your liquid gold! Continue reading
Happy Thanksgiving to all the parents, expectant parents, grandparents, and the rest!
Since this is a holiday weekend, I wanted to publish a quick post for those of you with little ones this Thanksgiving. BabyCenter recently sent out an email listing foods to avoid feeding your baby. Junk food does more bad for your baby than it does for us grown-ups, since their tummies are so small and can easily become filled with non-nutritious calories.
Remember, your baby’s diet (under 1 year) consists primarily of breastmilk (or formula) and is COMPLEMENTED by solids to provide her with new experiences with textures and flavors. Foods should be nutrient-dense, packed with lots of vitamins and minerals. These foods are whole foods, like fruits, veggies, and meats. Over 1 year old, babies should still consume nutritious foods so their bodies and immune systems become stronger.
With the holidays being filled with such excitement and delicious foods, it may be tempting to sneak in a spoonful of pumpkin pie filling, a smidgen of cranberry sauce, or a little buttery mashed potatoes (or sugary sweet potatoes) to your baby. But keep in mind these foods are not healthy for him. Added sugar and fat fill up a baby’s calorie needs with junk and can negatively affect their taste preferences for healthier options for the future. And, when consumed at even this young an age, these habits can lead to Type 2 diabetes and weight problems in the future.
Foods NOT to feed your baby:
- Gelatin desserts
- Processed meals
I had all intentions on posting about Sleep Training this week. But, as I was feeding Jia her pumpkin puree and held her vitamin D dropper over her spoon to deliver her daily dose of D3 (400 International Units), I remembered a few months ago when one of my friends Natasha asked Facebook for opinions on Vitamin D supplementation for an exclusively breastfed baby. Her holdup was that her first child (non-supplemented) is perfectly healthy and that her breastmilk should be nutritionally complete. I commented back, citing the AAP (here and here) and CDC‘s recommendations supporting vitamin D supplementation. On the other hand, one of my old coworkers Katie made a very good point: her breastmilk should be complete in providing all the vitamins and minerals baby needs, without supplementation.
I continued to give Jia her daily drop of Carlson’s Baby D 400 IU of Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) plainly because it’s what our pediatrician instructed us to do, and if the CDC and AAP recommended it, that’s what I would continue to do. I guess you could say I was being a lazy nurse-mom and didn’t do my own thorough research to hear the arguments on both sides.
However, yesterday (pumpkin day) a different feeling overcame me. As we are in the start of flu season (September through March), I started to consider the following: treating a sick baby really only consists of humidified air, fluids, rest, and sometimes Tylenol or Motrin (if baby’s fever is significant enough). Excess medications can unnecessarily do more harm than good on an underdeveloped baby’s system, causing more problems than there were to begin with. Continue reading
September 11, 2014 marked the day I was able to finally eat and drink dairy products again. It felt like a long time coming and I was craving a multitude of dairy-filled treats, from cheesecake, lobster rolls, Popeye’s, to Thai Tea.
Whoa, Whoa – Back up! Why Dairy?
Jia, like many infants, was unable to tolerate the dairy and soy that I ingested, that passed to her through breastmilk. In reality my non-soy and non-dairy diet hasn’t been ALL THAT long, but for the past 4 months, I had to restrict my diet of anything containing soy or milk ingredients. For Jia, her intolerance manifested in blood-streaked diapers resulting from the inflammation in her gut when I ate these foods. For other babies, it can mean a lot of spitting up, gut pain and discomfort, wretching/vomiting, and even baby developing a fear of breastfeeding.
When she was about 1 month old (in March), Jia was a heavy spitter and even threw up (think: projectile) a couple days in a row either in the day time or even at that 3 AM feeding. I decided on my own to start cutting out dairy, advice that I found through a quick google search on reflux in new babies, and at the advice of one of my close friends Berry (who is a NICU nurse). Her baby was so scared to nurse because it was causing her so much belly pain, and poor Berry even had to cut out gluten, tree nuts, eggs, shellfish, fish, corn, and other nuts. (MAD props to Berry for going that distance for her adorable little baby!!!). She said that a (+) hemoccult (lab test) was confirmation for her baby, who didn’t have any visible blood in her stools, and that testing this sooner rather than later was beneficial to baby – they hadn’t realized Maddie’s allergy until she was 3 months old. Continue reading