Your Baby

Chubby Baby = Obese Child?

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“Look at those cute little rolls of fat and chubby cheeks.” “It’s just baby-fat, he’ll grow out of it.” Common comments when people see a chubby baby. But, what was once thought of as a well-fed and healthy infant might prove to be just the opposite.

Researchers say they’ve found a way to determine if a rapid growing baby will become obese later in life. A new study says that if your baby has passed two key milestones, on a doctor’s growth chart by the age of two, then he or she has double the risk of being obese by the age of 5.  Rapid growers were also more likely to be obese at age 10, and infants whose chart numbers climbed that much during their first 6 months faced the greatest risks.

Children who grew more slowly were less likely to be obese by the same age.

That kind of rapid growth should be a red flag to doctors, and a sign to parents that babies might be overfed or spending too much time in strollers and not enough crawling around, said pediatrician Dr. Elsie Taveras, the study's lead author and an obesity researcher at Harvard Medical School.

Contrary to the idea that chubby babies are the picture of health, the study bolsters evidence that "bigger is not better" in infants, she said.

In an online article on healthland.time.com Dr. Michelle Lampl, director of Emory University's Center for the Study of Human Health, expressed concerns.

“It’s a bad idea that could backfire in the long run,” said Lampl.

"It reads like a very handy rule and sounds like it would be very useful _ and that's my concern," Lampl said. The guide would be easy to use to justify feeding infants less and to unfairly label them as fat. It could also prompt feeding patterns that could lead to obesity later, she said.

Lampl noted that many infants studied crossed at least two key points on growth charts; yet only 12 percent were obese at age 5 and slightly more at age 10. Nationally, about 10 percent of preschool-aged children are obese, versus about 19 percent of those aged 6 to 11.

Taveras said the rapid growth shown in the study should be used to raise awareness and not to put babies on a diet.

The study involved 45,000 infants and children younger than age 11 who had routine growth measurements during doctor checkups in the Boston area from 1980 through 2008.

Growth charts help pediatricians plot weight, length in babies and height in older kids in relation to other children their same age and sex. Pediatricians sometimes combine an infant's measures to calculate weight-for-length _ the equivalent of body-mass index, or BMI, a height-to-weight ratio used in older children and adults.

The charts are organized into percentiles. For example, infants at the 75th percentile for weight are heavier than 75 percent of their peers.

An infant whose weight-for-length jumped from the 19th percentile at 1 month to the 77th at 6 months crossed three major percentiles _ the 25th, 50th and 75th _ and would be at risk for obesity later in childhood, the authors said.

Larger infants were most at risk for obesity later on, but even smaller babies whose growth crossed at least two percentiles were at greater risk than those who grew more slowly.

About 40 percent of infants crossed at least two percentiles by age 6 months. An analysis of more than one-third of the study children found that 64 percent grew that rapidly by age 2.

Dr. Joanna Lewis, a pediatrician at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill., said she supports the idea that infancy is not too young to start thinking about obesity.

Still, she emphasized that rapid growth in infancy doesn't mean babies are doomed to become obese. "It's not a life sentence," and there are steps parents can take to keep their babies at a healthy weight without restrictive diets, she said.

Lewis said many of her patients are large babies whose parents feed them juice or solid food despite guidelines recommending nothing but breast milk or formula in the first six months.

"The study reinforces what we try to tell parents already: Delay starting solids and don't put juice in a bottle," Lewis said.

Your Baby

Mom Slaps Baby On Flight

A mother slaps her baby on a flight and the flight attendant takes the away to console. Did the flight attendant act properly?There were a few tense moments on a Southwest Airlines flight this week.

According to witnesses on the flight from Dallas to Albuquerque, a mother slapped her crying baby’s face during the flight and a Southwest flight attendant took the baby away from the family to console the child. Southwest Airlines said “the family was visibly having some heated discussions.” The flight attendant returned the child to the parents just before the plane landed.  Police were waiting at the gate when the flight arrived and questioned the couple, flight attendant and witnesses.  The child was returned to the parents and they were neither cited nor charged. Did the flight attendant act properly?  What do you think?  How do you control a crying or fussy child on a flight? Let is know and leave your comments below!

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Your Baby

Acetaminophen May Raise Asthma Risk

A new study shows infants who have been given acetaminophen may have a higher risk of developing asthma and eczema by the time they are six or seven.A new study out shows that infants who have been given the common pain reliever acetaminophen may have a higher risk of developing asthma and eczema by the time they are six or seven. The study of over 200-thousand children in 31 countries, published in the journal Lancet, found that acetaminophen use in the first year of life was associated with a 46 percent higher risk of asthma by the time the children were six or seven compared to those never exposed to the drug.

Medium use of acetaminophen in the past 12 months increased asthma risk by 61 percent, which high dosages of once a month or more in the past year raised the risk by three times. The study defined medium use as once per year or more but less than once a month. "Acetaminophen can reduce antioxidant levels and ...that can give oxidative stress in the lungs and cause asthma," says one of the researchers, Richard Beasley with the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand. Researchers emphasize that acetaminophen should remain the preferred drug to relieve pain and fever in children because one of the alternatives, aspirin, is linked to the risk of Reye's Syndrome, a rare but serious complication in children. "The findings do lend support to the current guidelines of the World Health Organization, which recommend that acetaminophen should not be used routinely, but should be reserved for children with a high fever" the researchers wrote.

Your Baby

Pets and Kids = Healthy Combo

1:45 to read

Lots of couples think if they’re expecting a baby, they’ll have to get rid of their pets because of dander, dirt and hair. Actually a new study shows that kids and pets are a healthy combo.

According to a recent study from Finland, kids who grew up with dogs or cats tended to have fewer respiratory infections during their first year.

Researchers followed 397 children from pregnancy through their first year of life, and found that those living with dogs developed 31 percent fewer respiratory tract symptoms or infections, 44 percent fewer ear infections and received 29 percent fewer antibiotic prescriptions.

Cats also proved to be beneficial buddies although not as dramatically as dogs. Infants living with cats were still less likely to need antibiotics, but only by 2 percent. Researchers offered an opinion on why that might be.

“We speculated that maybe the dogs somehow can bring dirt or soil inside the house, and then the immune system is strengthened, or maybe it’s something about the animals themselves," said study researcher Dr. Eija Bergroth, a pediatrician at the Kuopio University Hospital in Finland.

The link between pets and fewer infections held even when researchers took into account factors known to affect infants’ infection rates – such as breast-feeding and number of siblings. Still, the researchers acknowledged that couldn't account for all such factors, and noted that they found a correlation, not a cause-and-effect relationship.

Of the 397 children participating in the study, 35 percent lived in homes with dogs, and 24 percent lived with cats. The scientists also included pet contact outside the home.

"According to our results, there’s no reason to be afraid of animal contact, or to avoid them," Bergroth said. While many people preparing to have a child attempt to create an extremely hygienic environment, Bergroth said, the results show this may not be the best choice, because the immune system is not challenged. 

This train of thought ties into previous studies that have shown that kids who live in a “too –clean” environment have more colds, infections, allergies and asthma than kids who live on farms or play outside a lot. The study’s findings could imply that a pet offers an environment that challenges a young child’s immune system and helps it grow stronger.

Bergroth said she hopes the research will stop people from thinking that if "they’re having children, they should get rid of animals."

Bergroth emphasized that the children studied lived in rural or suburban areas, so the study results may not translate to urban children. But she also said that urban pets may not track in the same dirt.

Of course there are lots of other reasons that you might want to share your home with a pet, but it’s nice to know that your dog or cat (or both!) could also help your child’s immune system develop into a germ-fighting machine.

Source: http://www.myhealthnewsdaily.com/2814-pets-infants-health.html

Your Baby

Gum Disease Treatment Safe For Pregnant Women

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Dentist have also been concerned that by aggressively treating gum disease patients with teeth cleaning, bacteria could get into the pregnant woman’s bloodstream causing harm to the baby. But those fears are baseless, the new study shows.Pregnant women can safely be treated for gum infections without having to worry about their baby's health, according to a new study.

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Gum disease, caused by a bacterial infection that breaks down gum tissue and can cause tooth loss and serious health problems, is a particular problem during pregnancy. Hormonal changes appear to make a pregnant woman more susceptible to developing gum disease, yet the standard antibiotic-based therapy is not recommended because it stains the baby's teeth. Dentist have also been concerned that by aggressively treating gum disease patients with teeth cleaning, bacteria could get into the pregnant woman’s bloodstream causing harm to the baby. But those fears are baseless, the new study shows. "Women can be confident that it's not going to have clinically meaningful effects on their child's development," said Dr. Bryan Michalowicz, whose findings are published in the journal Pediatrics. Michalowicz, a dentist at the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry in Minneapolis, and his colleagues tested more than 400 two-year-olds, who'd been born to mothers with gum disease. Half the mothers had been treated with aggressive teeth cleaning, called scaling and planning, during pregnancy, while the rest had not. The researchers found the kids did just as well on language, motor and mental tests regardless of whether their mothers had been treated. On the other hand, treatment didn't seem to benefit the kids either. That was the researchers' original hypothesis, because earlier studies have linked gum disease to developmental delays. "We asked the question, does treatment of periodontal disease in pregnant women improve child development?" said Michalowicz. "We found it doesn't." The researchers did find a slight increase in toddlers' test scores when the mothers' gum disease improved. But the effect was so small it doesn't have any practical consequences, they say. Nonetheless, he said, "As a dentist I think that improving oral health is a goal in its own right." Bad oral health in pregnant women has long been suspected as a link to miscarriages. A 2010 study published by the British journal Obstetrics and Gynecology, reveals the case of a 35 year-old woman who had the common gum disease gingivitis. She delivered a stillborn baby at 39 weeks and doctors were able to trace the oral bacteria in the mother’s mouth to bacteria found in the baby’s bloodstream, lungs and stomach. Scientists believe that any disruption to the amniotic fluid, the liquid that surrounds an unborn baby, could pose a risk to both mother and baby making the infection from gum disease a real risk. Dr. Marjorie Jeffcoat, a dentist at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia who wasn't involved in the Minnesota School of Dentistry study, said it couldn't rule out that treatment might benefit the baby in some cases. "You need to have a higher risk population in order to draw a conclusion," she told Reuters Health. "I wouldn't jump to the conclusion that we should let periodontal disease run rampant in pregnant women." But, she added, women should try to maintain good oral health in the first place. "They need to use a soft toothbrush and floss the right way," wrapping the floss around the tooth, she said. "The first goal with almost all dental disease is prevention, prevention, prevention.” The following guidelines were developed by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, in response to the growing concern surrounding oral health during pregnancy: - Oral Health Education - Counseling and early intervention by healthcare providers such as physicians, nurses, and dentists to provide expectant mothers with the tools and resources necessary to understand the importance of oral health care during pregnancy. - Oral Hygiene - Removing the bacterial plaque, which researchers have connected to preterm birth and low birth-weight babies, is essential. Using the correct brushing and flossing methods greatly increase the amount of plaque that is removed from the teeth and gums. - Fluoride - The American Dental Association recommends the use of toothpaste with fluoride by persons over the age of six. Echoing their sentiment, the AAP oral health guidelines advise the continued use of fluoridated toothpaste during pregnancy, and recommends the use of an over-the-counter alcohol-free fluoride rinse to help reduce the amount of plaque in the mouth. - Nutrition - Educating expectant mothers about proper diet and nutrition during pregnancy will limit unnecessary sugar intake and in turn, prevent plaque build up. Talk with your dentist or pediatrician. - Treating Existing Tooth Decay - Expectant mothers are encouraged to have existing tooth decay treated during their pregnancy, which experts believe is a completely safe practice during pregnancy. Restoring decayed teeth will help achieve oral health by removing the bacteria associated with tooth decay. - Transmission of Bacteria - Expectant mothers are discouraged from sharing food and utensils in order to prevent the transmission of the bacteria known to cause tooth decay. - Use of Xylitol Gum - Expectant mothers are encouraged to chew Xylitol gum (four times a day) as research suggests that chewing this gum may decrease the rate of tooth decay in children.

Your Baby

Bacteria May Be Connected to Colic

A bacterium normally found in the mouth, skin and intestines might play a role in the cause of colic in babies, a new study says. Researchers found the bacterium Klebsiella along with gut inflammation in the intestines of all babies in their study who had colic, a condition characterized by uncontrollable crying.

"We believe that the bacterium may be sparking an inflammatory reaction, causing the gut inflammation," Dr. J. Marc Rhoads, a pediatrics professor at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston and the study's lead investigator, said. "Inflammation in the gut of colicky infants closely compared to levels in patients with inflammatory bowel disease." He said it is possible that colic could lead to other gastrointestinal conditions in later life, such as irritable bowel syndrome and celiac disease. Colic, which causes an otherwise healthy your-baby to cry and scream often and for long periods without any noticeable reason, has no medically grounded treatment or known cause, although bottle-fed babies seem to get it more often than breast-fed infants research shows. The condition often disappears as suddenly as it presents itself. "Colic can be a dangerous situation for a your-baby," Rhoads said. "The parents' frustration over the crying can lead to maternal frustration, post-partum depression and even thoughts of harming the your-baby." The study, published online in the Journal of Pediatrics, included 36 babies, both breast- and bottle-fed. About half had colic. The researchers found that babies without colic had more types of bacteria in their intestines, a sign that certain types of bacteria are beneficial to people, Rhoads said. He said the researchers plan further study, involving adults as well as infants, on Klebsiella and on whether probiotics, a dietary supplement of so-called good bacteria, could control the gut inflammation in colicky babies.

Your Baby

Recall: All J & J Infant Tylenol

1.45 to read

Johnson & Johnson is recalling its entire U.S. supply of infant Tylenol Oral Suspension 1 oz. Grape, after parents complained about problems with its new dosing syringe.

The recall involves about 574,000 bottles of the grape –flavored liquid Tylenol for children younger than 2 years old.

Parents have reported that the Tylenol “SimpleMeasure™” dosing system is flawed and difficult to use. 

“SimpleMeasure™” includes a dosing syringe, which a parent or caregiver inserts into a protective cover, or “flow restrictor,” at the top of the bottle to measure the proper dose.  In some cases, the flow restrictor was pushed into the bottle when inserting the syringe. 

When parents inserted a syringe into the bottle, some accidentally pushed a protective cover inside.

To date, J&J has received 17 complaints, company spokeswoman Bonnie Jacobs said.

No serious side effects from the infant Tylenol have been reported.

A J & J spokesperson said the risk of such problems are "remote. "

The recall is from stores and wholesalers; consumers can still use the product provided that the protective cover at the top of the bottle remains in place, J&J said.

The recall does not affect Tylenol for children 2 years and older, for which J&J also introduced a new but different design.

The Tylenol liquid formula for infants will be off the shelves for an indefinite time.

"We are looking for various alternatives for the redesign," Jacobs said. "Once we have reviewed those options, we will set a timeline for the product to return." The product was manufactured to specifications, so the company is investigating why it was not performing as expected, Jacobs said.

The new syringe was developed in response to calls from drug safety advocates and the FDA to provide more precise dosing systems for liquid children's medications, after studies showed that over- and under-dosing were common with spoons and cups.

If the flow restrictor is pushed into the bottle, the parent or caregiver should not use the product.  Consumers can request a refund by visiting www.tylenol.com or contacting McNeil at 1-888-222-6036 (Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern Time; Saturday-Sunday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern Time).  Parents and caregivers with any health questions or concerns should contact their healthcare provider and visit  www.tylenol.com for additional information.

Sources: http://www.tylenol.com/page2.jhtml?id=tylenol/news/subp_tylenol_recall_8.inc ... http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/46427423/ns/health-childrens_health/t/infant-tylenol-recalled-over-flaw-dosing-system/#.T0Eoz5gzJnY

Recalled Infant Tylenol

Your Baby

Does Your Baby Need Water?

2.00 to read

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

Early Pacifier Use Linked to Shorter Breastfeeding

Mothers who want better success on breastfeeding their your-baby may want to hold off on giving their newborn a pacifier. That's the result of a new study by researchers in Denmark. Drs. Hanne Kronborg and Michael Vaeth of the University of Aarhus found that women who gave their your-baby a pacifier in the first few weeks of life were less likely to continue breastfeeding their babies.

Researchers had registered nurses specially trained in breastfeeding counseling visit nearly 600 mother-your-baby pairs. At the visit, the nurse observed the mother breastfeeding. After the first visit, which occurred an average of eight days after the babies left the hospital, half of the mothers were having difficulty breastfeeding, most frequently with positioning the your-baby or latching on. Correcting a mother's breastfeeding technique during the visit did not have any influence on duration of breastfeeding the researchers found. Nearly two-thirds of the women reported giving their your-baby a pacifier. Pacifier use was associated with a shorter duration of breastfeeding, independent of breastfeeding technique. Use of the pacifier "should be avoided in the first weeks after birth by mothers who want to breastfeed," the researchers concluded. The study was published in the March 2009 issue of the medical journal Birth.

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