Your Baby

Harmful Bacteria in Online Breast Milk

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Some moms who are not able to nurse their babies and don’t want to feed their newborn formula, may turn to the Internet for help.They are able to purchase breast milk online or receive it free from mothers who have an abundant supply. But is the human milk bought and sold online safe for babies?

Not according to Sarah A. Keim, a researcher at The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. Her team purchased and tested 101 samples of breast milk from milk sharing websites. They found that almost three quarters probably weren't safe for babies, especially preemies.

A rise in milk sharing websites and ads promoting the buying and selling of mother’s milk peeked the researchers interest and left them wondering whether the milk being sold or donated online was actually safe for infants. The milk typically sells for $1.00 to $3.00 an ounce.

For the new study, 495 inquiries were sent to milk sharing websites. 191 sellers never replied and 41 stopped corresponding after one reply, Keim wrote. Some 79 sellers agreed to send milk but never followed through and eight accepted payment but didn’t send the promised product.

Of the 101 samples analyzed, 72 were contaminated with bacteria and would not have met criteria for feeding without pasteurization set by the Human Milk Banking Association of North America, or HMBANA.

HMBANA is a network of milk banks that are typically set up by hospitals or health care providers. Breast milk is distributed to preemies and babies with medical conditions. Because of low supply, the exchange requires a medical prescription. All donors are strictly screened and medically tested, and the milk is pasteurized to prevent contamination that could harm a baby, said Kim Updegrove, the president of HMBANA.  That causes some slight loss of nutrition, she acknowledges, but reduces risk.

“I don’t think that the general public understands human milk as a bodily fluid that can relay dangerous bacteria and viruses,” she said.

Breast milk can transmit healthy bacteria and immune system boosting agents as well as serious infections such as HIV or tuberculosis or drugs in the mother’s system.

Seventy-four percent of the study samples either had disease-causing bacteria like E. coli or harmful levels of bacteria such as Streptococci. Those risks, combined with the evidence of harmful bacteria, should make new moms think twice about buying milk from strangers, Updegrove said.

In about 20 percent of the samples, cytomegalovirus, or CMV, which can cause serious illness in premature or sick babies, was detected. The contamination was associated with poor milk collection, storage or shipping practices, the analysis showed.

The problem, Keim said, is that the milk samples exchanged contained not only healthful bacteria, which are necessary, but high levels of bacteria that could cause harm.

“The pathogenic bacteria, those are the ones that are the most concerning,” she said. All of the sharing sites urge women to collect, store and send milk in sanitary ways and to offer medical proof that the milk is safe. It's not clear, however, how many suppliers follow those instructions. 

“We were very surprised by our findings,” said Keim. “Besides bacterial contamination and viruses that could be in the milk, you could be exposing your infant to chemical contaminants, pharmaceuticals or drugs as well.”

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 77 percent of U.S. babies are breast fed at least once. Health officials routinely urge new mothers to breast feed exclusively for 6 months then continue while introducing other foods for a year.

Milk sharing website owners have responded to the study in various ways. Some milk sharing portals are looking at changing how they share milk, and others are enraged, claiming that even reporting the findings of the study is an attack on breastfeeding.

“A blatant attack on women attempting to feed their babies is cruel and you should feel ashamed of yourself for spreading misinformation,” Khadijah Cisse, a midwife who founded MilkShare, a portal for connecting women cited in the new research, said in an email to NBC News. “Anyone can type up any bit of lies they want and make claims. Breast milk is supposed to contain bacteria.”

Emma Kwansica, founder of Human Milk 4 Human Babies, says that the women who share milk in 130 communities in 52 countries aren’t strangers engaged in commerce.

“Peer-to-peer milk-sharing is really about families sharing at a hyper-local level. This study could not have been more opposite of what our moms are doing in the world today,” she said. “If there are babies getting sick from milk sharing, I would know. There are no sick babies.”

After being contacted by NBC News, representatives of OnlyTheBreast.com said they intend to halt informal breast milk exchanges and revamp their organization. 

"We have made the decision to transition away from offering breast milk classified ads and in the near future completely remove them," site founder Glenn Snow said in a statement.

Instead, officials said they are working to form a new milk bank program, Milk for Babies, that would partner with a laboratory to offer screened milk while still permitting donors to be reimbursed. 

"We are convinced that a more safety-centered approach must be taken to secure milk sharing," officials added.

Sources: JoNel Aleccia, http://www.nbcnews.com/health/75-percent-breast-milk-bought-online-contaminated-analysis-shows-8C11421794

Genevra Pittman, http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/10/21/us-usa-health-breast-milk-idUSBRE99K02B20131021

 

Your Baby

Recall: PeaPod and PeaPod Plus Travel Kits

1.45 to read

KidCo Inc. in cooperation with The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is voluntarily recalling 220,000 of its PeaPod and PeaPod Plus travel beds due to possible suffocation and entrapment risks for children.

Officials say infants and young children can roll off the edge of the inflatable air mattress and become entrapped between the mattress and fabric sides of the tent, and suffocate.

The CPSC says it is aware of one 5-month-old boy who died in December 2011 in New York City after he was found with his face pressed against the side-wall of a PeaPod travel tent bed. The cause of death was not determined.

The CPSC is also aware of six reports of children who have become entrapped or experienced physical distress in the product. Two of the six reports included infants who were found crying underneath the mattress when it had not been inserted into the zippered pocket in the bottom of the tent.

In addition, Health Canada says it received three reports of children rolling over and becoming trapped between the mattress and sides of the PeaPod travel bed.

Travel Beds Recalled

The KidCo PeaPod Travel Beds and PeaPod Plus Travel Beds are small, portable tents marketed for use by infants from birth to over age 3, depending on the model.

The tents have a zippered side for putting in and taking out the child and an inflatable air mattress that fits into a zippered pocket at the floor of the tent. The travel beds fold into a compact round shape and come with a fabric bag for storage and travel.

The following models and corresponding tent colors are included in the recall:

  • P100 Teal
  • P101 Red
  • P102 Lime
  • P103 Periwinkle
  • P104 Ocean
  • P201 Princess/Red
  • P202 Camouflage
  • P203 Quick Silver
  • P204 Sagebrush
  • P205 Cardinal
  • P900CS Green

You can find the model number on a small tag on the underside of the product.

The travel beds were sold nationwide between January 2005 and 2012 for between $70 and $100.

Owners of KidCo travel beds should stop using the tents immediately and contact KidCo to get a free repair kit on KidCo's web site or by calling toll-free at (855) 847-8600.

Libertyville, Ill.-based KidCo says the repair kit includes a thinner replacement mattress and braces to strengthen the sides of the tent. The kits will be mailed out starting in mid-December.

Source: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml13/13043.html

http://www.webmd.com/parenting/news/20121116/childrens-peapod-travel-beds-recalled

PeaPod Plus travel bed

Peapod Travel Bed (red)

 PeaPod Travel Bed (green) with Inflatable Air Mattress

Your Baby

Moms-to-be Need Folic Acid

1.45 to read

One of the best ways to have a healthy baby is to take good care of your own health.  Folic acid has been shown to help prevent certain birth defects, but now a new study suggests when a woman takes it in the first two months of pregnancy; her child may be less likely to have severe language delays.

Folic acid is a B vitamin (B9) found mostly in leafy green vegetables like kale and spinach, orange juice, and enriched grains.  It’s also available as a supplement.

American companies often add folic acid to their grains to help make sure that pregnant women are getting enough of the B vitamin.

“We don’t think people should change their behavior based on these findings,” said Dr. Ezra Susser from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health in New York, who worked on the study.

“But it does add weight to the public health recommendation to take folic acid early in pregnancy,” he told Reuters Health.

And, he added, it shows that “what you do during pregnancy… is not only important for birth but also for subsequent development".

The study took place in Norway, where 40,000 women – a few months into their pregnancy- were surveyed on what supplements they were taking in the four weeks before they got pregnant and eight weeks after conception.

When their children were three years old, Susser and his colleagues asked the same women about their kids’ language skills, including how many words they could string together in a phrase.

Toddlers who could only say one word at a time or who had “unintelligible utterances” were considered to have severe language delay. In total, about one in 200 kids fit into that category.

Four out of 1,000 kids born to women who took folic acid alone or combined with other vitamins had severe language delays. That compared to nine out of 1,000 kids whose moms didn’t take folic acid before and during early pregnancy.

The pattern remained after Susser’s team took into account other factors that were linked to both folic acid supplementation and language skills, such as a mom’s weight and education, and whether or not she was married.

The study can’t prove that folic acid, itself, prevents language delay, they wrote in the Journal of the American Medical Association. But Susser said the vitamin is known to affect the growth of neurons and could influence how proteins are made from certain genes.

“The recommendation worldwide is that women should be on folate (folic acid) supplements through all their reproductive years,” Susser said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all women of childbearing age — and especially those who are planning a pregnancy — consume about 400 micrograms (0.4 milligrams) of folic acid every day. Adequate folic acid intake is very important before conception and at least 3 months afterward to potentially reduce the risk of having a fetus with a neural tube defect.

You can boost your intake by looking for breakfast cereals, breads, pastas, and rice containing 100% of the recommended daily folic acid allowance. But for most women, eating fortified foods isn’t enough. To reach the recommended daily level, you’ll probably need a vitamin supplement.

Your Baby

Babies Born In High Pollen & Mold Months At Wheezing Risk

A new study shows that children exposed to high levels of pollen and mold in their first few months of life are more likely to develop wheezing.A recent study shows that children exposed to high levels of pollen and mold in their first few months of life are more likely to develop wheezing, which is a possible early symptom of asthma.

Researchers from the University of California Berkeley studied more than 500 children in California's Salinas Valley. They found that children born in high mold season (fall and winter) were three times more likely to develop wheezing by the age of two than children born at other times of the year. The findings help clarify why babies born in the fall and winter appear to have a higher risk of developing asthma than children born in the fall. As many as 40 percent of children who wheeze early in life may go on to develop childhood asthma. Study author Kim Harley, associate director of health effects research at UC Berkeley's Center for Children's Environmental Health Research said she and her colleagues were continuing to follow the children in the study. "We are not in a position to say conclusively why some children develop asthma, or to even suggest precautionary measures to help babies born in the fall and winter," study senior author Dr. Ira Tager, professor of epidemiology, said in a news release. "We already know that family history is a major risk factor for developing asthma, but the role environmental factors play is still being fleshed out. What this study does is provide valuable clues about airborne allergens that are worth exploring further."

Your Baby

Parents Urged to Check Cribs Due to Recall

The Consumer Product Safety Commission is urging parents to inspect the stability and hardware of their cribs after the recall of 1.6 million cribs.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission is urging parents and caregivers to inspect the stability and hardware of their cribs after the recall of 1.6 million cribs. The move comes after the suffocation deaths of two infants. The deaths happened when the infants got stuck in a gap created when the movable side came off of its guide track. Both incidents involved cribs made by Delta Enterprises.

The CPSC said the incidents involved safety pegs that are intended to prevent the drop side from lowering too far and slipping off the track. If these pegs are not installed, or if they fail to engage, the drop-side can detach and create a dangerous gap where babies can get stuck. "The CPSC is committed to making sure a your-baby's sleep environment is as safe as possible," said Acting Chairman Nancy Nord. "It is that ongoing commitment that is driving the agency to explore new crib requirements and educate the public of the dangers associated with some cribs." The Delta Enterprises recall included 985,000 drop-side cribs of various models, because of the potential for missing safety pegs. These cribs were sold by major retailers including Wal-Mart, Kmart and Target.com between January 1995 and September 2007. The recall also included 600,000 cribs of various models with spring-loaded safety pegs that sold between January 2000 and January 2007. The recall doesn't affect any cribs now in retail inventory. The company will offer consumers replacement safety pegs or spring peg kits. More Information: Consumer Products Safety Commission

Your Baby

Recall: Baby Recliners Linked to 5 Infant Deaths

1.30 to read

Baby Matters LLC is voluntarily recalling its foam rubber Nap Nanny and Nap Nanny Chill infant recliners and their covers, in exchange for the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) dropping an administrative complaint that it filed in December 2012.

From 2009 to the present, the Commission staff has received at least 92 incident reports involving the Nap Nanny and Nap Nanny Chill products, including five infant deaths. CPSC is aware of four infants who died in Nap Nanny Generation Two recliners and a fifth death involved in the Chill model. In the incident reports received by CPSC, there were 92 reports of infants hanging or falling over the side of the products, including some infants who were restrained in the product’s harness.

In December 2012, four major retailers—Amazon.com, Buy Buy Baby, Diapers.com, and Toys R Us/Babies R Us—announced a voluntary recall of Nap Nanny and Chill models sold in their stores. Consumers who purchased a Nap Nanny from one of these retailers should contact the retailer for instructions on how to obtain a refund for the product.

About 165,000 of the Nap Nanny and Chill products were sold between 2009 and 2012 for about $130. The recalled products were sold at toy and children's retail stores nationwide and online, including at www.napnanny.com.

Baby Matters LLC is no longer in business and is not accepting returns. CPSC urges consumers to immediately dispose of the products to ensure that they are not used again.

Consumer contact:

-       Amazon.com:
http://www.amazon.com

-       Buy Buy Baby: Toll-free at (877) 328-9222,
http://www.buybuybaby.com/productRecalls.asp

-       Diapers.com: (800) 342-7377, http://www.diapers.com

-       Toys R Us/Babies R Us: (800) 869-7787, 
http://www.toysrusinc.com/safety/recalls

Source: http://www.cpsc.gov/Recalls/2013/Four-Retailers-Agree-to-Stop-Sale-and-Voluntarily-Recall-Nap-Nanny-Recliners-Due-to-Five-Infant-Deaths/

Baby Matters baby recliner

Your Baby

Protect Infants From The Sun

2.00 to read

Whether it’s vacation, shopping, hanging out at the pool or lake or simply in the backyard lots of families will be spending time outdoors. Because their skin is thinner and they lack the ability to sweat, experts want parents and guardians to know that babies need extra protection from the sun.

You might think that sunscreen is the solution - and many parents trying to do the right thing, do cover their little ones in it - but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the American Academy of Pediatrics, does NOT recommend sunscreen for infants under 6 months old.

Dr. Hari Cheryl Sachs, a pediatrician with the FDA, said parents should avoid putting sunscreen on their infants. Sachs explained that young babies' skin is much thinner than that of adults and can absorb the active, chemical ingredients found in sunscreens more easily. She noted that because they have a relatively high surface-area to body-weight ratio, they are at greater risk for allergic reactions or inflammation from exposure to sunscreen.

"The best approach is to keep infants under 6 months out of the sun, and to avoid exposure to the sun in the hours between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when ultraviolet (UV) rays are most intense," Sachs said in an FDA news release.

Stroller canopies or an umbrella can offer shade if you have your infant outside. If there are no other options available, a small amount of sunscreen with a sun-protection factor of at least 15 can be applied to small areas of exposed skin, such as the cheeks and back of the hands. Applying a small amount of sunscreen to the baby's inner wrist first to test for sensitivity is a good idea, Sachs noted.

Sachs and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) offered additional tips to ensure infants are protected from sun exposure, including:

  • To prevent sunburns, dress infants in lightweight pants and shirts with long sleeves, as well as hats with brims that shade the ears and neck, advised the AAP. Sheer fabrics should be avoided because they could still result in a sunburn.
  • Ensure babies are well hydrated. Offer them their usual feeding of breast milk or formula, said Sachs. Use a cooler to store the liquids if they will be out in the sun for more than a few minutes.
  •  Monitor babies for signs of sunburn or dehydration, including fussiness, redness, excessive crying and lack of urination.
  •  If sunscreen is applied to babies, steer clear of products containing the insect repellant DEET.
  •  Babies who become sunburned should be taken out of the sun immediately, and cold compresses should be applied to the affected areas.

The AAP has more sun safety tips for kids older than 6 months.

  • The first, and best, line of defense against harmful ultraviolet radiation (UVR) exposure is covering up. Wear a hat with a three-inch brim or a bill facing forward, sunglasses (look for sunglasses that provide 97% -100% protection against both UVA and UVB rays), and cotton clothing with a tight weave.
  •  Stay in the shade whenever possible, and limit sun exposure during the peak intensity hours - between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  •  On both sunny and cloudy days use a sunscreen with an SPF 15 or greater that protects against UVA and UVB rays.
  •  Be sure to apply enough sunscreen -- about one ounce per sitting for a young adult (18-21 years old.)
  •  Reapply sunscreen every two hours, or after swimming or sweating.
  •  Use extra caution near water and sand (and even snow!) as they reflect UV rays and may result in sunburn more quickly.

We all know how damaging and painful sunburn can be. If you have a baby, most likely he or she will be included in some of the family’s outdoor activities this summer, just make sure that your little one is protected from the sun.

If you have questions about your child and sunscreen, talk with your pediatrician about it. He or she can give you the best advice on when to begin using suncreen and the SPF that’s right for your particular child.

Sources: http://news.yahoo.com/keep-infants-sun-heat-experts-warn-130406184.html

http://www.healthychildren.org/English/news/Pages/Summer-Safety-Tips-Sun-and-Water-Safety.aspx

Your Baby

Meningococcal Disease Vaccine Approved For Infants

2.00 to read

Meningococcal disease can cause death or severe brain damage in infants and young children. The U.S. Food and Drug Association has now approved a vaccine against the disease for children as young as 9 months old.

Dr. Karen Midthun, director of the FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, says neisseria meningitidis is a leading cause of meningitis in young children -- it progresses rapidly and can cause death within hours although early symptoms are often difficult to distinguish from influenza and other common illnesses. Even with appropriate antibiotics and intensive care, between 10 percent and 15 percent of people who develop the disease die and another 10 percent to 20 percent suffer complications such as brain damage or hearing loss, Midthun says. The safety of Menactra in children as young as 9 months was evaluated in four clinical studies in which more than 3,700 participants received the vaccine. Injection-site tenderness and irritability are the most  common adverse events reported in the youngest study participants. Occurrence of fever was comparable to other vaccines routinely recommended for young children, Midthun says. Menactra, manufactured by Sanofi Pasteur Inc., was originally approved January 2005 for use in those ages 11-55 years and was approved in October 2007 for children age 2 and older. Meningitis is an inflammation of the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord. People sometimes refer to it as spinal meningitis. Meningitis is usually caused by a viral or bacterial infection. Knowing whether meningitis is caused by a virus or bacterium is important because the severity of illness and the treatment differ depending on the cause. Viral meningitis is generally less severe and clears up without specific treatment. But bacterial meningitis can be quite severe and may result in brain damage, hearing loss, or learning disabilities. For bacterial meningitis, it is also important to know which type of bacteria is causing the meningitis because antibiotics can prevent some types from spreading and infecting other people. Common symptoms of meningitis in anyone over the age of 2 are high fever, headache, and stiff neck. These symptoms can develop over several hours, or they may take 1 to 2 days. Other symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, discomfort looking into bright lights, confusion, and sleepiness. In newborns and small infants, the classic symptoms of fever, headache, and neck stiffness may be absent or difficult to detect. Infants with meningitis may appear slow or inactive, have vomiting, be irritable, or be feeding poorly. As the disease progresses, patients of any age may have seizures. Early diagnosis and treatment are very important. If symptoms occur, the patient should see a doctor immediately. The diagnosis is usually made by growing bacteria from a sample of spinal fluid. The spinal fluid is obtained by performing a spinal tap, in which a needle is inserted into an area in the lower back where fluid in the spinal canal can be collected. Identification of the type of bacteria responsible is important for selection of correct antibiotics. The bacteria can mainly be spread from person to person through the exchange of respiratory and throat secretions. This can occur through coughing, kissing, and sneezing. Fortunately, none of the bacteria that cause meningitis are as contagious as things like the common cold or the flu. Also, the bacteria are not spread by casual contact or by simply breathing the air where a person with meningitis has been. However, sometimes the bacteria that cause meningitis have spread to other people who have had close or prolonged contact with a patient with meningitis caused by Neisseria meningitidis (also called meningococcal meningitis) or Hib. People in the same household or daycare center, or anyone with direct contact with a patient's oral secretions (such as a boyfriend or girlfriend) would be considered at increased risk of getting the infection. People who qualify as close contacts of a person with meningitis caused by N. meningitidis should receive antibiotics to prevent them from getting the disease.

Your Baby

Breastfeeding Could Save 1.3 Million Lives

Teaching new mothers how to breastfeed could save 1.3 million children's lives every year, but many women get no help and give up trying.Teaching new mothers how to breastfeed could save 1.3 million children's lives every year, but many women get no help and give up trying, said the World Health Organization. Less than 40 percent of mothers worldwide breastfeed their infants exclusively in the first six months, as recommended by the WHO. But many abandon it because they don't know how to get their your-baby to latch on properly or suffer pain and discomfort.

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"When it comes to doing it practically, they don't have the practical support," said WHO expert Constanza Vallenas. This is a problem in both rich and poor countries, she said, calling for more assistance in hospitals, health clinics and communities for new mothers who need information and help. The WHO recommends that babies start breastfeeding within one hour of their birth, and ingest only breast milk for the first six months, avoiding water and other drinks and foods. This can give children vital nutrients and strengthen their immune system to fight diseases like diarrhea and pneumonia. Formula milk does not provide the same immunity and local water can be contaminated or unsafe in many parts of the world. Raising to 90 percent the global breastfeeding rate for infants to six months would save an estimated 13 percent of the 10 million under-age-five deaths a year, Vallenas said. In a statement released to mark World Breastfeeding Week, August 1-7, WHO Director-General Margaret Chan said it was also important that mothers in disaster zones be given the support they need to continue or restart breastfeeding. "During emergencies, unsolicited or uncontrolled donations of breast milk substitutes may undermine breastfeeding and should be avoided," Chan said, arguing abandoning breastfeeding could put vulnerable child lives at extra risk. "The focus should be on active protection and support of breastfeeding."

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Why you need to stop competing with your friends & their kids.