Your Baby

Similac Baby Formula Recall

Abbott Laboratories, manufacturers of Similac baby formula recalls up to 5 million powdered products for insect contamination. The makers of Similac baby formula, is voluntarily recalling several products due to insect contamination.

Abbott Laboratories is recalling their powdered baby formula sue to the possibility of small insect parts and beetle larvae. The beetles were found in the production area of one of Abbott’s manufacturing facilities that makes Similac. There is currently no reported immediate healthy risk to infants drinking Similac baby formula.  Parents should look for any gastrointestinal symptoms such as refusal to eat or stomach aches as possible symptoms of ingesting the recalled formula. The Similac recall includes the following products:

  • -all lots of Similac formula powder product lines offered in plastic containers, including 1.38-lb, 1.45-lb and 2.12-lb containers
  • -Similac Sensitive Isomil Soy - 12.4-oz cans - only lots numbers containing RB
  • -Similac Advance - 12.4-oz cans - only lots numbers containing RB
  • -certain lots of Similac formula powder product lines offered in sizes such as 8-ounce, 12.4-ounce and 12.9-ounce cans
  • -Similac formula powder in 8-ounce sample cans that could have been given out in doctor's offices and hospitals

The Similac recall does not affect the ready-to-feed or concentrated baby formula or specialty Similac formulas. Check out the recalled brands at www.similac.com/recall for all brands and lot numbers or you may call Abbott’s consumer hotline 800-986-8850.

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

Social Networks Influence Kid’s Vaccinations

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A new study looks at what influences parents to either have or not have their infants vaccinated. Researchers reported that parents make decisions about whether to vaccinate fully, vaccinate over a period of time or not vaccinate their children at all largely based on social networks.

Emily K. Brunson, PhD, MPH, from Texas State University in San Marcos, presented the results of her survey in an article in the online journal Pediatrics. Dr. Brunson surveyed United States–born, first-time parents who had children aged 18 months or younger and resided in King County, Washington. A total of 126 participants conformed to vaccination recommendations and 70 did not. The 70 other parents forged their own paths: 28 delayed vaccines, 37 partially vaccinated and five didn’t vaccinate at all.

The two groups were described as “conformers” and “non-conformers”. 95% of both groups said they get their advice from people that they go to for information. The non-conformers were also significantly more inclined to use “source networks” (sources people go to for information and advice such as books, pamphlets, research articles and the Internet).

The current study connects immunization decision-making with the pressure to conform to group opinion. It also looks at whether parents are more likely to choose a social group that reflects their own beliefs and actions, or let the social group dictate their beliefs and actions. Dr. Brunson's data suggest that the social groups dictate the decisions.

Parents who did not conform to the recommended Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) schedule had a higher percentage of people in their social networks that recommended not conforming to the vaccine schedule.

Conformers were more likely to get their information from family, friends and healthcare providers.

“Parents’ people networks matter a ton,” says Brunson, now an assistant professor of anthropology at Texas State University. “Having those conversations with your sister, with your parent, with your friends matter a lot more than we thought.”

On an average, 59% of non-conformers reported that their sources – many of which persist in promoting a widely debunked association between vaccines and autism- recommend ignoring the CDC’s guidelines for vaccinations as compared to only 20% of conformer’s sources.

The actual number of “zero dosers” has stayed at less than 2%, but the numbers of parents who don’t trust that vaccines will actually do what they are told they will do is growing. This frustrates many pediatricians who have seen first hand or know about the deadly consequences of vaccine-preventable diseases. Some parents are deciding for themselves which vaccines they feel are necessary and then developing their own vaccine schedule by spacing out shots over a series of years, which experts argue only extends the time their kids are susceptible to disease or capable of passing it on to others.

Vaccines have been widely studied and current research has shown that multiple vaccinations do not pose a hazard to young children. Some of the older vaccines exposed toddlers to more antigens than newly formulated vaccines do.

Scientists noted that public-health officials should consider the importance of social networks when getting out the message that childhood immunizations are important for children’s health. It may be time, they say, to extend their reach beyond doctors and start paying attention to other people who influence parents’ vaccination decisions, namely friends and family whom moms and dads list as part of their “social network.” “If we want to improve vaccination rates, communication needs to be directed to the public at large,” says Brunson.

Preliminary data on Immunity Community’s effectiveness look promising: last year, one Montessori-preschool pilot site raised its immunization rate from 60% to 80%. The CDC is keeping tabs on the results and could bring it to other states as a potential national model, albeit one rooted at the local level. “For people to be passionate and credible and persuasive about this, they have to be local community members,” says Kris Sheedy of the CDC’s immunization-services division. “We know that birds of a feather flock together, so it’s a good thing to make vaccinating parents more visible.”

As the battle rages on about the safety and necessity of infant vaccines, too many children are not receiving the recommended doses. Doctors and public health officials are going to have to be more clear and aggressive in getting information to the general public on the facts surrounding immunizations.

Sources: Bonnie Rochman, http://healthland.time.com/2013/04/15/how-social-networks-influence-a-parents-decision-to-vaccinate/#ixzz2QZyv47qZ

Larry C. Pullen, PhD., http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/782558

Your Baby

Radiation In Milk: Should Parents Worry?

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The radiation found is more than 5,000 times smaller than the level that would require any action from the FDA. “These types of findings are to be expected in the coming days, and are far below levels of public health concern, including for infants and children,” the agency said. One of the most nutritional supplements children, particularly babies and toddlers, receive almost daily is milk. Since news of the Japanese nuclear power plant explosions, some parents are asking – how safe is the milk I give my child?

According to the EPA, the FDA, and scientists who study radiation, the risk of dangerous radiation levels in the nation’s milk supply is small. Recent reports from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration say that very low levels of radiation have turned up in milk samples on the West coast. Traces of radioactive Iodine-131 were found in milk in California and Washington state. Federal and state authorities are monitoring for contamination as the nuclear crisis continues to unfold in Japan. The radiation found is more than 5,000 times smaller than the level that would require any action from the FDA. “These types of findings are to be expected in the coming days, and are far below levels of public health concern, including for infants and children,” the  agency said. Robert Henkin, professor emeritus of radiology at Loyola University’s Strich School of Medicine, agrees that the levels detected are nothing to be concerned about at this time. Henkin told National Public Radio’s Health Blog Shots "We are exposed to tons of natural radiation, the amount is a fraction of our yearly background exposure.” Even tainted Japanese milk, one sample of which reportedly had over 1,500 becquerels per liter (50,000 times the amount found in Washington), would only be dangerous if you drank 58,000 glasses. People are often exposed to low levels of radiation through common occurrences such as smoking, flying in airplanes, dental x-rays, mammograms and exposure to natural radiation from the soil. Though radioactive material spreading from the Japanese power plant reached the West Coast days ago, radiation levels detected so far are well below normal exposure. Also,  because iodine -131 has a short half-life of  8 days- this level is likely to rapidly decrease. Levels of iodine 131 entering the air can be very diluted, but if the iodine is deposited on grass eaten by cows, the cows will re-concentrate it in their milk by a factor of 1,000. This is mainly a concern with fresh milk, not for dairy products that are stored before consumption. Milk provides calcium for strong bones and teeth, and according to medical research, milk can improve the intake of minerals and vitamins. A glassful of milk contains vitamin A & B for good eyesight and increasing red blood cell count, carbohydrates for  energy, potassium for proper nerve function, magnesium for muscular function, phosphorous for energy release, protein for body repair and growth. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises that parents begin low fat milk after age two years. Before that age, toddlers should be either breastfeeding or drinking whole milk, but after age two you can start giving a child 2%, 1%, or skim milk. And of course they should be either breastfeeding or drinking an iron fortified infant formula before age 12 months.

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

Safer Baby Cribs

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Good News for Babies! After years of accidents- including some that were fatal- caused by unsafe baby cribs, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has strengthened the safety requirements for baby-crib production.There was excellent news from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission for babies, parents and caregivers yesterday! Consumers will see a new generation of safer cribs for sale at local and national retail stores.

After years of accidents- including some that were fatal- caused by unsafe baby cribs, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has strengthened the safety requirements for baby-crib manufacturing. Safer cribs will mean a safer sleep for babies across the country. On December 15, 2010, the CPSC voted unanimously to approve new mandatory crib standards, establishing the most stringent crib safety standards in the world. Beginning immediately, all importers, distributors, manufacturers, and retailers must offer only cribs that meet the CPSC’s new and improved full-size and non-full-size crib standards. The new rules prohibit the manufacture, sale, or resale of traditional drop-side cribs. Mattress supports and crib slats will be strengthened, crib hardware will be made more durable and safety testing will be more rigorous. "A safe crib is the safest place for a baby to sleep. It is for this reason that I am so pleased that parents, grandparents and caregivers now can shop with confidence and purchase cribs that meet the most stringent crib standards in the world," said Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. "From the start, our goal has been to prevent deaths and injuries to babies in cribs, and now the day has come where only stronger and safer cribs are available for consumers to purchase." CPSC has recalled more than 11 million dangerous cribs since 2007. Drop-side cribs with detaching side rails were associated with at least 32 infant suffocation and strangulation deaths since 2000. Additional deaths have occurred due to faulty or defective crib hardware. The new standards aim to prevent these tragedies and keep children safer in their cribs. Starting on December 28, 2012, child care facilities, including family child care homes and infant Head Start centers, as well as places of public accommodation, such as hotels and motels, and rental companies must use only cribs that comply with the new crib standards. The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA) required the CPSC to update the old crib standards, which had not gone through a major revision in more than 30 years, to ensure that the standards provided the highest level of safety possible. If you already own a drop-side crib, contact the crib manufacturer to find out if your crib has been recalled or if it will send you a bracket that will immobilize the drop side. For more information on crib safety you can go to www.cpsc.gov/cribs

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.

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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Sources: 

http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/45491242/ns/today-today_health/#.Tt6znZgzJnY

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/11/30/us-arsenic-juice-idUSTRE7AT231...

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.

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DR SUE'S DAILY DOSE

Sometimes you just need to wait when your child is not feeling well. Here's why.