Your Baby

Arsenic In Fruit Juice

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There’s been a lot of media coverage about the pros and cons of giving children fruit juice to drink. Now a new study conducted by Consumer Reports says that 10 percent of juices tested by the magazine had arsenic levels higher than allowed in water by the Food and Drug Administration.

Brands including Apple & Eve, Great Value, Mott's, Walgreens and Welch's had at least one sample that exceeded the 10 parts per billion threshold, it said. Other juices with low arsenic levels include: America's Choice Apple; Tropicana 100% Apple; and Red Jacket Orchards 100% Apple.

One of the big concerns is that so many children drink fruit juice daily. Arsenic can accumulate in children’s bodies over time, and raise their risk for cancer, and other serious illnesses.

The 88 samples came from 28 apple and three grape juice brand products that were purchased by Consumer Reports. They included ready-to-drink bottles, juice boxes and cans of concentrate from different lot numbers at stores around New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

The Juice Products Association responded to the report by saying that comparing juice to water was not appropriate.

The FDA has different guidelines for juice than it does water. While the guideline for water is 10 ppb of inorganic arsenic, juices are allowed higher levels at 23 ppb.

"Fruit juice producers are confident the juice being sold today is safe," said Gail Charnley, a toxicologist for the juice association.

“They showed that the juice samples they tested met the Food and Drug Administration’s limit on arsenic in juice,” Charnley said. “The toxicologists and the food safety experts at the FDA set that limit in a precautionary public health based kind of way. And the food industry is committed to meeting those limits.”

The FDA is willing to look at it’s fruit juice standards and possibly make some adjustments.

"We welcome the research that Consumer Reports has undertaken and look forward to reviewing the data that formed the basis for their story and their recommendations,” the agency noted. “We continue to find the vast majority of apple juice tested to contain low levels of arsenic, including the most recent samples from China. For this reason, FDA is confident in the overall safety of apple juice consumed in this country. By the same token, a small percentage of samples contain elevated levels of arsenic. In response, FDA has expanded our surveillance activities and is collecting additional data”

Consumer Reports also found about one-fourth of all juice samples had lead levels at or above the federal limit for bottled water, it said.

The advocacy arm of Consumer Reports, Consumer Union, said in the report these findings should be enough to prompt the federal government to establish arsenic limits for juice.

The FDA has conducted recent tests on fruit juice after Dr. Mehmet OZ talked about high levels of arsenic, in children’s fruit juice, on his television show. The FDA said its results showed very low level of total arsenic in the samples it tested.

One of the issues the FDA had with Oz’s study was its failure to separate out measurements of inorganic and organic arsenic. Studies have linked inorganic arsenic to a variety of cancers. But many consider organic arsenics – especially the types commonly found in seafood - to be safe.

As far as Consumer Reports is concerned, that’s not a proper way to evaluate arsenic in drinks and food.

“Questions have been raised about the human health effects of other types of organic arsenic in foods, including juices,” the magazine noted. “Use of organic arsenic in agricultural products has caused concern. For instance, the EPA in 2006 took steps to stop the use of herbicides containing organic arsenic because of their potential to turn into inorganic arsenic in the soil and contaminate drinking water.”

Beyond this, there’s evidence that organic arsenic converts into the inorganic form when chickens consume feeds that contain the compound, Consumer Reports researchers noted.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)  has also weighed in on giving kids fruit juice to drink.  Their website notes that drinking too much juice can contribute to obesity, the development of cavities (dental caries), diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal problems, such as excessive gas, bloating and abdominal pain.

The AAP suggests that:

  • When you give your child juice, it should be 100% pasteurized fruit juice and not fruit drinks.
  • Infants under 6 months of age should not be given juice, although many Pediatricians do recommend small amounts of juice for children that are constipated.
  • Infants between 6 and 12 months can drink up to 4 to 6 ounces of juice a day, but should do it only in a cup, not a bottle.
  • Younger children aged 1 to 6 years should have only 4 to 6 ounces of juice a day.
  • Older children should be limited to 8 to 12 ounces of juice a day.
  • Instead of juice, children should be encouraged to eat whole fruits.

The arsenic study will be featured in the January, 2012 issue of Consumer Reports magazine and is available online.


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Your Baby

Starting Baby on Solid Foods

Your goal over the next few months is to introduce a wide variety of foods. If your baby doesn't seem to like a particular food, reintroduce it at later meals. It can take quite a few tries before kids warm up to certain foods.Starting baby on solid foods can be an exciting and perplexing time for parents. What foods should I start with? How much? How often?

The American Academy of Pediatrics currently recommends gradually introducing solid foods when a baby is about 6 months old. Your pediatrician, however, may recommend starting as early as 4 months depending on your baby's readiness and nutritional needs. Be sure to check with your pediatrician before starting any solid foods. Is your baby ready? Breast milk or formula is the only food your newborn needs. Within four to six months, however, your baby will begin to develop the coordination to move solid food from the front of the mouth to the back for swallowing. At the same time, your baby's head control will improve and he or she will learn to sit with support — essential skills for eating solid foods. If you're not sure whether your baby is ready, ask yourself these questions: •       Can your baby hold his or her head in a steady, upright position? •       Can your baby sit with support? •       Is your baby interested in what you're eating? If you answer yes to these questions and you have the OK from your baby's doctor or dietitian, you can begin supplementing your baby's liquid diet. What Foods to Start With. Continue feeding your baby breast milk or formula as usual. Then: •       Start with baby cereal. Mix 1 tablespoon (15 milliliters) of a single-grain, iron-fortified baby cereal with 4 to 5 tablespoons (60 to 75 milliliters) of breast milk or formula. Many parents start with rice cereal. Even if the cereal barely thickens the liquid, resist the temptation to serve it from a bottle. Instead, help your baby sit upright and offer the cereal with a small spoon once or twice a day. Once your baby gets the hang of swallowing runny cereal, mix it with less liquid. For variety, you might offer single-grain oatmeal or barley cereals. Your baby may take a little while to "learn" how to eat solids. During these months you'll still be providing the usual feedings of breast milk or formula, so don't be concerned if your baby refuses certain foods at first or doesn't seem interested. It may just take some time. Do not add cereal to your baby's bottle unless your doctor instructs you to do so, as this can cause babies to become overweight and doesn't help the baby learn how to eat solid foods •       Add pureed meat, vegetables and fruits. Once your baby masters cereal, gradually introduce pureed meat, vegetables and fruits. Offer single-ingredient foods at first, and wait three to five days between each new food. If your baby has a reaction to a particular food — such as diarrhea, a rash or vomiting — you'll know the culprit. •       Offer finely chopped finger foods. By ages 8 months to 10 months, most babies can handle small portions of finely chopped finger foods, such as soft fruits, well-cooked pasta, cheese, graham crackers and ground meat. As your baby approaches his or her first birthday, mashed or chopped versions of whatever the rest of the family is eating will become your baby's main fare. Continue to offer breast milk or formula with and between meals. Foods to Avoid for Now. Some foods are generally withheld until later. Do not give eggs, cow's milk, citrus fruits and juices, and honey until after a baby's first birthday. Eggs (especially the whites) may cause an allergic reaction, especially if given too early. Citrus is highly acidic and can cause painful diaper rashes for a baby. Honey may contain certain spores that, while harmless to adults, can cause botulism in babies. Regular cow's milk does not have the nutrition that infants need. Fish and seafood, peanuts and peanut butter, and tree nuts are also considered allergenic for infants, and shouldn't be given until after the child is 2 or 3 years old, depending on whether the child is at higher risk for developing food allergies. A child is at higher risk for food allergies if one or more close family members have allergies or allergy-related conditions, like food allergies, eczema, or asthma. Introducing Juice. Juice can be given after 6 months of age, which is also a good age to introduce your baby to a cup. Buy one with large handles and a lid (a "sippy cup"), and teach your baby how to maneuver and drink from it. You might need to try a few different cups to find one that works for your child. Use water at first to avoid messy clean-ups. Serve only 100% fruit juice, not juice drinks or powdered drink mixes. Do not give juice in a bottle and remember to limit the amount of juice your baby drinks to less than 4 total ounces (120 ml) a day. Too much juice adds extra calories without the nutrition of breast milk or formula. Drinking too much juice can contribute to obesity can cause diarrhea. Infants usually like fruits and sweeter vegetables, such as carrots and sweet potatoes, but don't neglect other vegetables. Your goal over the next few months is to introduce a wide variety of foods. If your baby doesn't seem to like a particular food, reintroduce it at later meals. It can take quite a few tries before kids warm up to certain foods.

Your Baby

FDA Finds Traces of Melamine in U.S. Formula

Traces of the industrial chemical melamine have been detected in samples of top-selling U.S. infant formula, but federal regulators insist the products are safe. "The levels that we are detecting are extremely low," said Dr. Stephen Sundlof, director of the FDA's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. "They should not be changing the diet. If they've been feeding a particular product, they should continue to feed that product. That's in the best interest of the your-baby."

The Food and Drug Administration said last month it was unable to identify any melamine exposure level as safe for infants, but a top official said it would be a "dangerous overreaction" for parents to stop feeding infant formula to babies who depend on it. Melamine is a chemical that has been found recently in Chinese infant formula, although in much larger concentrations. It has been blamed for killing at least 3 infants in China and causing at least 50,000 other children sick. Melamine is used in some U.S. plastic food packaging. It can sometimes rub off onto what we eat. The Associated Press obtained previously undisclosed tests under the Freedom of Information Act. Those tests show the FDA had detected melamine in a sample of one popular formula and the presence of cyanuric acid, which is a chemical relative of melamine in the formula of a second manufacturer. A third large formula maker told The Associated Press that in-house tests had detected melamine in its infant formula. Those three companies, Abbott Laboratories, Nestle and Mead Johnson, make more than 90 percent of all infant formula produced in the United States. The FDA and other experts said the melamine contamination in U.S.-made formula had occurred during the manufacturing process, rather than intentionally.

Your Baby

No Link Between Vaccines and Autism

1.30 to read

A new study slated to appear in the Journal of Pediatrics, says that there is no association between the amount of vaccines a young child receives and autism. Some parents have worried that there may be a link and have opted out of having their child vaccinated or reduced the number of vaccines recommended.

The percentage of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has increased by 72% since 2007. Some experts believe that changes in the diagnostic criteria may account for some of the increase as well as better screening tools and rating scales.

According to a statement released from the journal, researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Abt Associates analyzed data from children with and without ASD.

Researchers examined each child's cumulative exposure to antigens, the substances in vaccines that cause the body's immune system to produce antibodies to fight disease, and the maximum number of antigens each child received in a single day of vaccination, the journal's statement said.

The antigen totals were the same for children with and without ASD, researchers found.

Scientists believe genetics play a fundamental role in the risk for a child developing autism (80-90%), but recent studies also suggests that the father’s age at the time of conception may also be a contributor by increasing risks for genetic mistakes in the sperm that could be passed along to offspring.

Parents have worried about a link between vaccines and autism for decades despite the growing body of scientific evidence disproving such an association.

Source: Luciana Lopez,

Your Baby

Pampers® Pacifiers, Bed-Side Sleepers Recalled

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"Pampers ® Natural Stages Pacifier" and “Infant Bed-Side Sleepers” by Arm’s Reach Concepts are being recalled by the CPSC due to choking hazards from the pacifier, and entrapment and fall hazards from the sleepers. Parents are urged to stop using both of these products at once. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued two new recalls for products affecting infants.

The first recalled product is “Infant Bed-Side Sleepers” by Arm’s Reach Concepts. About 76,000 Bed-Side Sleepers have been sold. When the fabric liner is not used or is not securely attached, infants can fall from the raised mattress into the loose fabric at the bottom of the bed-side sleeper or can become entrapped between the edge of the mattress and the side of the sleeper, posing risks of suffocation. CPSC and Arm's Reach have received 10 reports of infants falling from the raised mattress into the bottom of the sleeper or becoming entrapped between the edge of the mattress and the side of the bed-side sleeper. No injuries have been reported. This recall involves a product called a "co-sleeper" by the manufacturer. One side of the bed-side sleepers is lower than the others to allow positioning near a bed and access to the infant for care and feeding. This recall includes all Arm's Reach Original and Universal styles with manufacture dates between September 1997 and December 2001. The manufacture date and model number can be found on a sticker on one of the product's legs. Model numbers included in the recall begin with: Originals - 8108, 8133, 8111, 8112 & 8199  - Universal – 8311 The Bed-Side Sleepers were sold at Burlington Coat Factory, Babies R Us and other retail stores nationwide from September 1997 through December 2001 for about $160. Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled bed-side sleepers and visit to view and download assembly instructions and to make sure that the product is properly configured. Consumers should also contact the company by phone or via the company website to receive hard-copy instructions by mail and an assembly/warning label. Consumers who are missing the fabric liner or other components should immediately contact Arm's Reach for an alternative remedy. The next recall is Pampers(r) Natural Stages Infant Ortho and Bulb Pacifiers. The “Pampers Natural Stages Pacifiers” are being recalled due to possible choking hazards.  About 29,000 of the pacifiers were sold at retail stores nationwide from April 2010 through February 2011 for about $6.00. The pacifiers are made in China and distributed through Key Baby LLC, and fail to meet federal safety standards. Consumers should immediately take the recalled pacifiers away from infants and contact Key Baby for instructions on returning the product for a full refund or $10 coupon toward the purchase of any Pampers(r) Natural Stages products. For additional information, contact Key Baby toll-free at (800) 447-1224 anytime, or visit the company's web site at Arm's Reach Bed-Side SleeperPampers Natural Stage Pacifiers

Your Baby

Small Birth Size Linked to Sleep Problems Later

Children who were born at a relatively small size may be more likely than their peers to have sleep difficulties, a new study suggests. The study, which appears in the journal Sleep, included 289 8-year-olds born healthy and full-term. It found that the lower the children's weight and length at birth, the greater their odds of having poor sleep or sleep disturbances such as sleep-related breathing problems or nightmares.

What's more, mothers' prenatal drinking -- a habit that can impair fetal growth and development -- was linked to a greater risk of childhood sleep problems. The researchers report it is possible that in some children, smaller birth size is a marker of alterations in nervous system development, which might affect the body's sleep regulation later in life. "We showed that even within children born healthy and at-term gestation, smaller body size at birth increases the risk for poor sleep," said lead researcher Dr. Anu-Katriina Pesonen, of the University of Helsinki in Finland. That does not mean, however, that every child born at a relatively small size is destined for sleep difficulties. For one, birth size is partially determined by genetics, and Pesonen said it's possible that the current findings do not pertain to newborns who are simply naturally on the smaller size. On the other hand, she said, factors that can impair normal fetal growth -- which, besides prenatal drinking, include prenatal smoking and high chronic stress levels -- may help set the stage for sleep problems later on. For their study, Pesonen and her colleagues had each child wear an actigraph -- a watch-like device that measures sleep and activity patterns -- for one week. Their parents also completed a standard questionnaire on childhood sleep disturbances. In general, the researchers found, the smaller a child was at birth, the greater the likelihood of sleep disturbances or low sleep efficiency. Sleep efficiency refers to a person's ability to fall asleep and stay asleep once the head hits the pillow. In this study, 26 children had low sleep efficiency -- spending roughly three-quarters or less of their time in bed actually asleep. The researchers also found an association between sleep problems and mothers' prenatal drinking, even at relatively moderate levels. Among children whose mothers had consumed more than one drink per week during pregnancy, the risks of short sleep duration -- less than 7.5 hours per night -- and low sleep efficiency were about three times higher compared with other children. Prenatal smoking was not linked to sleep problems. However, Pesonen's team notes, this could be because few mothers in the study said they had smoked during pregnancy, limiting the study's ability to find an association. For now, the researchers conclude, the findings suggest that even moderate levels of drinking during pregnancy, and birth size variations within the normal range, may affect children's sleep later on.

Your Baby

“Five S’s” Comfort Baby After Vaccinations

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Once an infant is given his or her vaccination, it’s up to mom or dad to find a way to comfort their crying baby. In a new study, researchers say the five “S’s” may help.

The five S’s are swaddling, side/stomach position, shushing, swinging and sucking.

Pediatrician, Dr. Harvey Karp, in the book “The Happiest Baby on the Block”, popularized the method.

Based on the new study, the result is less pain and a lot less crying, said Dr. John W. Harrington, of Eastern Virginia Medical School and Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters in Norfolk, who led the study.

"It's probably working as a distraction technique," Harrington told Reuters Health in an interview.

Different infants will respond to different methods of comfort, whether it's swaddling, a pacifier or being rocked, Harrington said. "If you do all of the 5 S's, you're likely to hit upon the one that will help a child soothe himself."

The study was published in the journal Pediatrics.

After the vaccine is given, the baby is wrapped in a snuggly tight blanket. She or he is then placed on their side or stomach and gently “shushed” and rocked. If that fails, a pacifier is then given.

The study included 234 two- and four-month-old infants having routine vaccinations.

The researchers divided the babies into four groups. In the "control" group, infants were given a tiny bit of water right before their shots, and after the jab they were passed to their parents for comforting. A second group got sugar water instead of plain water.

The other two groups received either water or sugar water before their shots, and then the 5 S's afterward.

Overall, the researchers found, the 5-S groups showed fewer signs of pain -- less grimacing and frowning. And their crying faded sooner.

Only a few were still crying one minute after vaccination, versus about half of the babies in the control group and 30 percent of infants given sugar water only.

By offering physical comfort and a soothing voice, "I think we're just tapping into kids' natural ways of comforting themselves," Harrington said.

After the baby is vaccinated in a busy pediatrician’s office, are the 5 S’s really practical?

This study, Harrington said, was designed to test whether the measures work -- not how effectively they can be done in everyday practice. Harrington had pediatric residents on hand to do the 5 S's, which is a luxury not available in the real world.

But ideally, parents can be taught over the course of their routine "well-child" visits to perform at least some of the 5 S's, according to Harrington.

That way, parents will learn some extra tools for soothing their baby anytime, and not just after a needle stick. "Parents could do this instead of just giving them a bottle," Harrington said.

And unlike breastfeeding, he added, "dads can do this, too."

* Sucking is a natural calming reflex and helps baby’s level of relaxation rise.

* Swaddling is the cornerstone of claming. Swaddling also helps keep babies from accidentally flipping onto their stomach. Avoid overheating and loose blankets. I recommend wrapping babies with their arms straight at their sides. Wrapping with flexed arms usually fails because the arms soon wiggle free. Swaddling is the cornerstone of calming. Swaddling is the only "S" that does not directly turn on the calming reflex. In fact, many babies struggle even more for a minute or two when first swaddled with straight arms; that's probably because their biceps are hypertonic from their position in utero—we don't know with certainty.

* Shushing. The louder a baby cries, the louder the shushing has to be to calm him. The noise needs to be as loud as a baby is crying for it to trigger the calming reflex.

* Side or stomach position. This "S" can be activated by putting a baby on her side, on her stomach (again, not for sleeping), or over an adult's shoulder. Some babies are so sensitive to position that, even on their side, they won't calm down if they are rolled the least bit toward their back. All babies should be put on their back to sleep.

Unfortunately the calming reflex goes away after about three months, Karp says, and Harrington found the 5 S's didn't work as well with 4-month-olds as with 2-month-olds.

But it’s worth a try!


Your Baby

How Much Water Does Your Baby Need?

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Since most of the country is sweltering with summer heat and temperatures well into the upper 90’s and even over 100 degrees, I guess I can understand parents’ concerns about giving their babies water. It seemed like a strange question to me when I first started hearing, “Dr. Sue, how much water does my baby need to drink every day?”  I know I am continuing to talk about staying hydrated during the heat wave, but we are really talking about those children and adults who are spending time outdoors, especially when involved in physical activity.

I have actually been telling parents with newborns that there is really no reason to take that sweet new baby outside for any length of time. I think it is too hot to enjoy being outside, and an infant doesn’t miss going to the playground like a 2 or 3 year old would.

But, when you have young children you have to get out (or go crazy inside everyday), so everyone just suffers through the heat. Remember to take your sunscreen and fluids and head out for an hour or two, in the morning or later afternoon if at all possible. These children need lots of water breaks, as do their parents and caregivers.

So, back to the water and baby question. Infants in the first 6 months are getting fed breast milk or formula which is made up of free water, so therefore a baby is staying hydrated by eating every  2 -3 hours. A baby doesn’t “need” water every day for any particular reason.

With that being said, it does not mean that your baby cannot have a bottle of water. This is especially true for a breast fed infant whose mother may have run out for an hour but is coming back to breast feed.  But what if the baby awakens or gets hungry 30 min or so prior to mother getting home.  This might be a good time to “stall” by giving the baby a bottle of water, rather than formula. In this case it is fine to use tap water (yes bottled water is not necessary, unless you have a well or something) in a bottle and see if the baby will even take it. Most babies don’t just gulp down 8 ounces of water!

If you are out in the heat with an infant, just remember to feed them every 2 – 3 hours and make sure they have nice drool in their mouths and wet diapers. If you are concerned about hydration take along a bottle of water for both you and your baby. You will probably need it more than your baby!

That’s your daily dose for today.  We’ll chat again tomorrow.



Your Baby

Rise in Infant Suffocations Tied to Bed-Sharing

Rates in the United States of sudden infant death from suffocation or strangulation have quadrupled in the past 20 years.

Rates in the United States of sudden infant death from suffocation or strangulation have quadrupled in the past 20 years, most apparently from parents sleeping with their babies, a new government study found. The trend is clear, despite successful campaigns to prevent SIDS by putting babies to sleep on their backs, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in Pediatrics. Black male babies are the most affected, but it is not clear why. "Infant mortality rates attributable to accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed have quadrupled since 1984," the CDC's Carrie Shapiro-Mendoza and colleagues wrote. "Prevention efforts should target those at highest risk and focus on helping parents and caregivers provide safer sleeping environments." Researchers looked at data from 1984 to 2004. It showed that sudden, unexpected infant deaths fell over the 20-year period. Rates of strangulation or suffocation, however, rose by 14 percent between 1996 and 2004. Evidence shows that babies should be laid to sleep alone, on a flat mattress, with no loose pillows or blankets and in a crib with bars designed to prevent entrapment.


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