Your Baby

Starting Babies on Allergy Related Foods Early

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In a recent KidsDr.com website article, Pediatrician, Sue Hubbard, writes about “Food Myths  & Your Baby.”  Dr. Hubbard emphasizes the need to introduce a variety of foods to children when they start eating solid foods. The myths relate to a nonexistent “forbidden” foods list parents should avoid in order to prevent their child from having an allergic reaction. 

New recommendations, from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI), support Dr. Hubbard’s encouragement of including foods such as wheat, milk, eggs, fruits, nuts and shellfish in your child’s diet.

In 2000, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued guidelines that suggested children should put off having milk until age 1, eggs until age 2 and peanuts, shellfish and nuts until age 3. However, in 2008 the AAP revised those guidelines citing little evidence that delays prevented the development of food allergies. It didn’t say when and how to introduce such foods though.

The AAAAI’s recommendations address those concerns by suggesting foods that are considered highly allergic be slowly introduced –in small amounts- after first foods such as cereals, fruits and vegetables have been eaten and tolerated. Babies can be introduced to the more allergic type foods as long as they are prepared correctly. Foods should be mushy and easy for an infant to eat or in the case of eggs and fruits cut into very small pieces.

"There's been more studies that find that if you introduce them early it may actually prevent food allergy," said David Fleischer, co-author of the article and a pediatric allergist at National Jewish Health in Denver. "We need to get the message out now to pediatricians, primary-care physicians and specialists that these allergenic foods can be introduced early."

The theory behind introducing foods, that are considered the most likely to cause an allergic reaction, early and in small doses is that children may actually be able to build up immunity to them. If introduction is delayed, their immune systems may treat them as foreign substances and attack them, resulting in an allergy.

Dr. Fleischer believes more study results are needed before there is any conclusive evidence that early introduction actually prevents allergies. There are several trials currently under way and the highly anticipated results should be available next year.

Lots of children suffer from food allergies. In the U.S. approximately 6 million children or 8% have one or more food allergies. They also seem to be on the rise and experts are not sure why. One possible explanation from some experts is that westernized countries have become more hygienic. Children don't have the same exposure to germs, which affects the development of the immune system.

Vitamin D may also play a role. In a study out this week in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, researchers took blood samples from more than 5,000 babies and found that those with low vitamin D levels were three times more likely to have a food allergy.

The new recommendations from the AAAAI committee say an allergist should be consulted in cases when an infant has eczema that is difficult to control, or an existing food allergy. For children who have a sibling with a peanut allergy—and have a 7% greater risk of a peanut allergy—parents may request an evaluation but the risks of introducing peanut at home in infancy are low, the recommendations noted.

Food allergies can cause severe reactions and should never be taken lightly. If you are interested in introducing highly allergic food into your child’s diet – to give your child’s immune system a boost- talk with your pediatrician about his or hers recommended method.

Sources: http://www.kidsdr.com/daily-dose/food-myths-your-baby

Sumathi Reddy, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324662404578334423524696016.html

Your Baby

New Moms Are Overspending on Baby Products.

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According to a new study, moms are feeling tremendous pressure to purchase expensive and soon –to –be outgrown brand name clothing for their infants. Moms are also overspending on formula because they tend to choose a name brand over a store brand.

Researchers found that mothers are cutting back in nearly every other area of their lives so they can buy brand names.

The “Brand” New Mom study of more than 1,900 moms, conducted by Kelton Research, found that today’s new mom often makes decisions based on guilt rather than practicality, even when it is clearly proven that a high-profile brand offers no clear benefits over other far less expensive options.

Why do they do it?

The study found one major reason is the confusing and anxiety-producing advertising and promotional messages that are everywhere.  New moms are particularly vulnerable. Their hormones are still adjusting, they are doing their best to take care of a newborn that wakes up all night, and many moms are scared of making a decision that might actually harm their baby. They are the perfect targets for creative advertising agencies. Who doesn’t want “the best” for their baby?

58 percent of expectant first-time moms admit they are consumed by thoughts about what products they need to buy their babies every day, and nearly 37 percent of moms express overall guilt about not being able to afford a specific baby product.

The economy is also adding to mom’s stress load.

- 59 % said they are worried about their personal financial situation.

- 53% confess that thoughts about their baby product budget plague them on a daily basis.

Moms may be stressing, but they are still overspending on name brand products. Three-quarters of moms surveyed have recently cut back on dining out, clothing for themselves, and entertainment. Only 13 percent have taken the same savings measures for their impending or new baby.

This study found that 85 percent of moms are far more tuned into ads related to babies or pregnancy than those with any other subject matter, and this increased attention to advertising can produce emotional stress. When it comes to this constant bombardment of baby-related advertising: 23% feel overwhelmed. 20 % feel anxious. 20% feel confused. And 35% of experienced moms admit that because of advertising they spent more than they had originally planned when their first child was a baby.

“This study sheds light on what moms are going through from both an emotional and economic standpoint,” said Sandra Gordon, national baby products expert and author of Consumer Reports Best Baby Products, 10th edition. “Moms are so intent on absorbing as much baby-related information as possible, and making the right purchasing decisions, that it can be easy to overlook inexpensive options that are just as safe and effective for their baby.”

More than half of moms are much more likely to buy store brands for household products, but don’t feel comfortable substituting store bands when it comes to their baby.

Less than 25% said they were open to buying store brand formula.

Baby formula is one of those products that some moms really struggle with. 43% say they feel guilty for using formula instead of breastfeeding their infant - which may be one of the reasons moms are willing to overspend on brand name formula. The other reason may be they just don’t trust that store brands are as good for their baby.

“These numbers are very consistent with what I see in my practice, and a clear indication of the challenges today’s mom faces with regard to the barrage of advertising messages she regularly sees,” said Dr. Jennifer Trachtenberg, assistant clinical professor of pediatrics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. “We know that when it comes to taking care of babies, breastfeeding is considered the gold standard. The reality, however, is that 80 percent of moms will use formula at some point, and it is not something they should feel guilty about. Also, they certainly don’t need to buy the most expensive formula just to alleviate that guilt.”

The study found that 68% of moms believed that the more expensive the formula the better the quality. 49% of new first-time moms believe name brand formulas offer more nutrition.

Is either one of these beliefs true? No.
The key, Dr. Trachtenberg said, is to educate moms with the facts on formula and provide them with all of their options, rather than making a decision based on which brand is the most heavily advertised and may be the highest priced.

“According to the Infant Formula Act, all infant formulas manufactured in the United States must contain the same key nutrients and adhere to the same quality and safety guidelines. This survey found that less than a quarter of the moms were willing to buy store brand formulas, which indicates that there is a significant knowledge gap. Far too many families are spending twice as much as they need to for infant formula, just to get a brand that is advertised,” said Dr. Trachtenberg. “Just like generic prescription medications have changed the healthcare landscape by proving more expensive does not mean better, store brand formulas can play a huge role in helping parents take the best possible care of their babies, as well as their budgets.”

New moms have a lot on their plate, as well as new dads.  Both are experiencing a life changing series of moments that revolve around a totally dependent infant. That’s actually the good news. Overspending on baby products is not going to ease the stress, and it’s not going to be better for baby. Don’t worry you’ll get the hang of parenting. For now you can spend less on clothing, diapers and formula and give yourself and your budget a break.

Source: http://media.prnewswire.com/en/jsp/latest.jsp?resourceid=4966025&access=EH

Your Baby

Folic Acid Study and Healthy Newborns

Folic acid, sometimes called folate, is a B vitamin (B9) found mostly in leafy green vegetables like kale and spinach, orange juice, and enriched grains. Repeated studies have shown that women who get 400 micrograms (0.4 milligrams) daily prior to conception and during early pregnancy reduce the risk that their baby will be born with a serious neural tube defect by up to 70%.Making sure that you get enough folic acid, during pregnancy, is one of the most important things you can do to help prevent birth defects.

Groundbreaking work by a team of UK scientists has identified, for the first time, a link between changes in the DNA of newborn babies, folic acid supplementation during pregnancy, and birth weight. This state-of-the-art 'epigenetic' study, from scientists funded by the World Cancer Research Fund, showed that the levels of a critical metabolite of folic acid, homocysteine, in the blood of newborn babies is linked to modifications of their DNA in key genes and that such modifications might be used to predict birth weight. Supplementation with the vitamin, folic acid during pregnancy is known to reduce the risk of neural tube defects (birth defects of the brain and spinal cord) such as spina bifida. It also protects against low birth weight, which has numerous short- and long-term consequences. It has been suggested that folic acid, though its metabolism to chemicals such as homocysteine, might secure these clinical effects via DNA methylation. The Fetal Epigenomics Group, led by Professor William Farrell, Professor of Human Genomics, Institute for Science and Technology in Medicine at the University of Keele,  examined the relationship between folic acid supplementation and its metabolites on DNA methylation in human blood from the umbilical cord, using a state-of-the-art 'microarray' techniques which simultaneously examines methylation at over 27,000 sites in the DNA. Professor Farrell said: "It has been known for many years that folic acid supplementation is essential for women during pregnancy to reduce the risk of neural tube defects and low birth weight delivery. However, we had little idea as to how this worked. This study is the first to suggest that methylation of particular genes in the baby's DNA may be the key to unlocking the secret of the action of folic acid. " "Now we have identified which genes might be the link between folic acid and birth weight, we have opened the door to research that may allow doctors to predict the likelihood of low birth weight with greater certainty. Furthermore, it sheds light on the underlying causes of low birth weight and offers the potential to intervene earlier to prevent poor pregnancy outcomes such as premature delivery and pregnancy loss." Folic acid, sometimes called folate, is a B vitamin (B9) found mostly in leafy green vegetables like kale and spinach, orange juice, and enriched grains. Repeated studies have shown that women who get 400 micrograms (0.4 milligrams) daily prior to conception and during early pregnancy reduce the risk that their baby will be born with a serious neural tube defect by up to 70%.

Your Baby

Prenatal Exposure to Traffic Pollution May Lead to Asthma

Exposure to traffic pollution in the womb may cause genetic changes that increase a child's risk of developing asthma say U.S. researchers. The researchers studied the umbilical cord blood from New York City children and found evidence of a possible biomarker, which is an alteration in the gene ACSL3 which is associated with prenatal exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). PAH is created as byproducts of incomplete combustion of carbon-containing fuels such as gasoline.

PAH levels are high in heavy-traffic areas and exposure to PAHs has been linked to such diseases as cancer and childhood asthma. The findings are published in the February 16, 2009 issue of PLoS One. They offer a potential clue for predicting environmentally-related asthma in children, particularly to those born to mothers who live in high-traffic areas said the researchers. "Understanding early predictors of asthma is an important area of investigation because they represent potential clinical targets for intervention," study co-author Dr. Rachel Miller, director of the asthma project at Mailman's Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health, said in a news release.

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Your Baby

Newborn Safety Tips

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If you’re expecting, you may have already begun decorating your baby’s room with a crib, rocking chair, mobile and changing table. While it’s tempting to fill your newborn’s crib with stuffed animals, blankets, pillows or toys - bare is the safest route to go.

The Consumer Protection and Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends removing pillows, quilts, comforters or cushions from your baby’s crib, bassinet or play yard.

Many times cribs are handed down from friends and family members. It’s a good idea to give a second hand crib a thorough inspection. Always use a crib that meets current CPSC standards. Newer standards have stringent requirements for various parts of the crib, such as mattress supports, slats, and hardware.

CPSC offers a three minute video on their website outlining safe sleep tips for infants. You can watch the video at http://www.cpsc.gov/Newsroom/Multimedia/?vid=61784.

A few of the tips included in the video are:

  • Never place your crib up against a window with blinds. A window can create a fall hazard and blind cords can cause strangulation.
  • To prevent suffocation, remove pillows and thick quilts. A baby’s face can become pressed into these items and stop the flow of air into his or her lungs. 
  • Make sure there are no gaps larger than two fingers between the sides of the crib and the mattress.
  • Make sure your crib has a firm mattress and fits tightly into the crib on all four sides.
  • Do not use cribs older than 10 years or broken or modified cribs. Infants can strangle to death if their bodies pass through gaps between loose components or broken slats while their heads remain entrapped.

Many new parents worry about sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).  There can be numerous contributors to the cause of SIDS, but in 1992 doctors discovered the key reason was stomach sleeping. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) launched the “Back to Sleep” campaign to educate parents on the dangers of placing their baby on their stomach or side to sleep.  

  • Place your baby on his or her back to help prevent suffocation. Baby’s placed on their side tend to roll over onto their stomach – pressing their face into the mattress.
  • Never place your baby on top of pillows or comforters.
  • Never fall asleep with your baby in bed with you. A parent who is sleeping may unknowingly roll over on their infant and cause their baby to suffocate.
  • Overheating is a known cause of SIDS. Make sure your infant is not over-wrapped or dressed in clothing that is too heavy for the temperature in the room. Your baby may be too hot if you notice sweating, damp hair, flushed cheeks, heat rash or rapid breathing.
  • Place your baby’s crib in a cigarette smoke-free room.
  • Don’t place your baby on a chair, sofa, waterbed or an adult mattress to sleep alone.

A large number of cribs are recalled due to faulty parts. Often these cribs are imported. Make sure your crib hasn’t been recalled by checking the CPSC website. Parents and caregivers can sign up to receive emails on recalls pertaining to infants and children at cpsc.gov, keepingbabiessafe.org, or aap.org.

To keep your baby warm, dress him or her in footed pajamas. If your baby needs more warmth, use a baby “sleeping bag.” Infant sleeping bags remove the need for blankets and can help prevent baby from rolling onto his tummy during sleep. They can be used from birth for babies who don't like being wrapped. Or they can be used from the time when baby resists wrapping or becomes too old for it (usually around 4 months or as soon as he can roll onto his tummy).

Look for sleeping bags that have a fitted neck, armholes or sleeves and no hood.

In warmer months, a lightweight footed-sleeper is good or a “Onesie,” a one-piece shirt that snaps over a diaper.  

Talk to your pediatrician or family doctor if you have any questions about caring for your infant. It’s a new experience for parents and you don’t receive a baby manual when you leave the hospital. Doctors have heard any question you may have, so there are no silly or stupid questions when it comes to your baby’s safety!

Sources; http://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/sleep/pages/A-Parents-Guide-to-Safe-Sleep.aspx

http://www.cpsc.gov/Safety-Education/Safety-Education-Centers/cribs/

Your Baby

Autism & Vaccine Study Details

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The investigation published in the British Medical Journal by Brian Deer lays out in detail, how the paper published in 1998 by British surgeon Andrew Wakefield, linking the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine to autism was a deliberate fraud.A 1998 study, that linked the MMR vaccine to autism, has been found to be false. 

The investigation published in the British Medical Journal by Brian Deer lays out in detail, how the paper published in 1998 by British surgeon Andrew Wakefield, linking the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine to autism was a deliberate fraud. According to the investigation, a law firm that hoped to sue the vaccine manufacturers hired Wakefield. The law firm wanted Wakefield to provide scientific evidence that vaccines caused autism. Wakefield received roughly $750,000 for his efforts. The conclusions in the research paper by Wakefield and colleagues, were renounced by 10 of its 13 authors, and in February of 2010 were retracted by the medical journal Lancet, where it was originally published. Still, the suggestion the MMR shot was connected to autism spooked parents worldwide and immunization rates for measles, mumps and rubella have never fully recovered. The analysis found that despite the claim in Wakefield's paper that the 12 children studied were normal until they had the MMR shot, that in fact, the children's medical records show that some clearly had symptoms of developmental problems long before getting their shots, BMJ says. Several had no autism diagnosis at all. This week, Wakefield continued to defend himself, calling the journalist "a hit man" during an interview with CNN. And some parents of autistic children and other advocates argue that the criticisms of Wakefield are actually attempts to close off research into the safety of vaccines. "A character assassination initiative against those who look for answers only serves to stunt medical progress for our children and perpetuate unnecessary public health risks," said Wendy Fournier, president of the National Autism Association, in a prepared statement. But health officials counter that the science is settled and prolonging the debate is dangerous. Few studies have had such far-reaching and harmful effects, especially after being so thoroughly discredited, says William Schaffner, an infectious-disease expert at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Vaccination rates in England plummeted after Wakefield's news conference to promote his study. Measles outbreaks in the United Kingdom and Ireland hospitalized hundreds of people and killed four children, says Paul Offit, a pediatrician at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Nearly 40% of American parents also have declined or delayed a vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many parents now have a vague distrust of vaccines — with little to no memory of diseases that terrified their grandparents, Schaffner says. Offit says it may take years to rebuild trust in vaccines. "It's very hard to un-scare people. You can do study after study, but people are far more compelled by their fears than by their reason." For Pediatrician Sue Hubbard's insight into the autism and vaccine report, check out her Daily Dose post at http://www.kidsdr.com/daily-dose/vaccine-autism-study-a-fraud

Your Baby

Safer Baby Cribs

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New rules by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission are established to keep your baby safer while sleeping in their crib.Babies spend most of their time sleeping, and the safest place to drift off into dreamland should be their crib.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) voted unanimously to approve new mandatory standards for full-size and non-full-size baby cribs as mandated by the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA). The federal crib standards had not been updated in nearly 30 years and these new rules are expected to usher in a safer generation of cribs. Once they become effective, the mandatory crib standards will: (1) stop the manufacture and sale of dangerous, traditional drop-side cribs; (2) make mattress supports stronger; (3) make crib hardware more durable; and (4) make safety testing more rigorous. CPSC has recalled more than 11 million dangerous cribs since 2007. Detaching drop-side rails were associated with at least 32 infant suffocation and strangulation deaths since 2000. Additional deaths have occurred due to faulty or defective hardware. These new standards aim to prevent these tragedies and keep children safe in their cribs. Effective June- 2011, cribs manufactured, sold, or leased in the United States must comply with the new federal standards. Effective 24 months after the rule is published, child care facilities, such as family child care homes and infant Head Start centers, and places of public accommodation, such as hotels and motels, must have compliant cribs in their facilities. The full-size and non-full-size crib standards adopted the current ASTM International voluntary standards with additional technical modifications. The rule will be among the toughest in the world, CPSC Chairman Inez Tenebaum said. Tenenbaum has made crib safety one of the biggest priorities at the CPSC in her 18-month tenure. Her “safe sleep” initiative is broader than the crib rule, encouraging parents to place sleeping infants on their backs and warning about the risk of suffocation from soft bedding. The regulations approved today will result in cribs with tighter fittings and more durable sides and mattress supports. Tougher tests will be used to simulate wear over time. A trio of child-care industry groups -- the National Head Start Association , the National Association for Family Child Care and the Early Care and Education Consortium -- puts the price tag for replacing cribs at $600 million. “Parents and caregivers should have peace of mind that when they leave their baby in a crib that their baby will be safe,” said Rachel Weintraub, product safety director for the Consumer Federation of America. “For too long, that has not been the case.” The need for the tougher testing was evident for years before Congress acted, said Nancy Cowles, executive director of Chicago-based “Kids in Danger”, an advocacy group. Aside from the drop-side design, other kinds of hardware failures have resulted in fatalities, she said. Cribs made under the new rule will be much safer than existing models, even ones that have been repaired through recalls, Cowles said. “There’s going to be a huge difference in how sturdy these cribs are,” she said.

Your Baby

Is My Baby Teething?

How do you know when your baby is teething?A major milestone in a your-baby’s first year is the cutting of their first tooth. Babies typically get their first tooth, on the bottom, around four to seven months of age. But it is important for parents to realize that babies develop differently and it is not unheard of for your-baby to cut their first tooth closer to their first birthday.

The arrival of that first tooth can sometimes be painful. Babies typically experience pain with teething two to three days before and after a tooth erupts. That pain can be managed with an over-the-counter pain reliever like Tylenol. “I do not recommend giving a young infant a product with ibuprofen,” says pediatrician Dr. Sue Hubbard. Dr. Hubbard says one way to also manage the pain is to give your child something to chew one, like a large piece of frozen bagel, a frozen washcloth or frozen teething ring.Many parents attribute a sudden fever to teething. But Dr. Hubbard says “You don’t run high fever with teething. If your your-baby is running a high fever, pulling on ears, and is irritable, it could be a sign of a secondary infection and you should contact your pediatrician about it.”

Your Baby

Graco Agrees to Infant Car Seat Recall

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Graco Children’s Products has been in a battle with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NTSHA) over the recall of its infant seats. In February, the company recalled 4.2 million toddler seats because the harness buckles could stick and be difficult to unlock. The NTSHA also wanted Graco to recall its infants seats because its buckles could get gummed up. The stuck buckles could make it hard to remove infants quickly, particularly in an emergency situation such as a car fire or car wreck.

Graco argued that infant seats are used differently, and in an emergency, an adult can remove the whole seat rather than using the buckle. However, parents had filed complaints with the agency and the company about the stuck buckles.

When Graco announced the initial recall in February, NHTSA sent the company a sternly worded letter questioning why the infant seats weren't included.  The letter also accused the company of soft-pedaling the recall with "incomplete and misleading" documents that will be seen by consumers. The agency threatened civil penalties.

But Graco, a division of Atlanta-based Newell Rubbermaid Inc., told The Associated Press at the time that rear-facing infant seats weren't being recalled because infants don't get food or drinks on their seats.

So, the battle was on with Graco hoping to avoid the largest seat recall in history. 

All that changed this week. Graco has announced that it will comply with the NTSHA’s demands and is now recalling the additional 1.9 million infant car seats.

Graco has agreed to send replacement buckles to owners of infant seats upon request.

In a June 27 letter to NHTSA, however, Graco said that further investigation showed a "higher than typical level of difficulty" in unlatching the infant seat buckles.

The company says there have been no injuries reported because of the problem. Spokeswoman Ashley Mowrey said in a statement that Tuesday's move, which brings the recall to 6.1 million seats, comes after months of sharing data and research with NHTSA. The company said the recall "is in the best interest of consumers and underscores our shared commitment to child passenger safety."

The infant-seat models covered by the recall include:

  • SnugRide,
  • SnugRide Classic Connect (including Classic Connect 30 and 35)
  • SnugRide 30
  • SnugRide 35
  • SnugRide Click Connect 40
  • Aprica A30

Graco will replace the buckles for free. The company says owners can check to see if their seats are included by going to www.GracoBuckleRecall.com or by calling (877) 766-7470.

USA Today reports that only 10 percent of people respond to child products safety recalls.  "The return rate of recalls is really abysmal," says Nancy Cowles, Kids In Danger’s executive director. "The government makes announcements, but people don't hear about them or don't respond."

The Kid’s Dr. has been following and reporting on the recall of Graco products because of the possibly dangerous situations that are associated with these toddler and infant products.

If you own a Graco toddler car seat or infant seat, be sure and check the model numbers to see if it is one of the recalled products. You’ll be glad you did.

Sources: Tom Krishner, http://abcnews.go.com/Business/wireStory/graco-agrees-recall-infant-seats-24383544

Alicia McElhaney, http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2014/02/18/child-safety-recall-effectiveness-report/5425555/

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