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Delaying solids and avoiding baby cereal is important in the health of babies…

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Ingredients

RICE FLOUR, CALCIUM CARBONATE, AND LESS THAN 2% OF: SOY LECITHIN, TUNA OIL (SOURCE OF DHA), POTASSIUM PHOSPHATE, FISH GELATIN (TILAPIA), B Lactis Cultures, ASCORBIC ACID (VITAMIN C), ELECTROLYTIC IRON, ZINC SULFATE, ALPHA TOCOPHERYL ACETATE (VITAMIN E), NIACINAMIDE (A B VITAMIN), RIBOFLAVIN (VITAMIN B2), THIAMIN MONONITRATE (VITAMIN B1), PYRIDOXINE HYDROCHLORIDE (VITAMIN B6), VITAMIN B12, FOLIC ACID (A B VITAMIN).

This is the ingredients of rice cereal taken straight off of the Gerber website.

In my quest to find research based advice on the subject of all things parenting, I am on a mission to read labels. You will notice that this “rice” cereal l actually doesn’t contain rice, but rice FLOUR. Way back when I started my college career, I took a nutrition class. There I learned that on food labels, the first ingredient listed is what makes up the majority of the product. Most consumers don’t realize this. So when you feed rice cereal, you are feeding your baby some flour with a bunch of additives, or fillers. It’s nutritionally void. Better options are available.

Dr. Alan Greene, a clinical professor at Stanford University School of Medicine, is on a mission to educate parents about better feeding practices and, in turn, lowering obesity rates. In his “White Paper” http://www.drgreene.com/ebooks/white_paper_white_rice_cereal.pdf , he states that the first foods that we feed our babies is what sets the standard for healthy eating habits:

“It should come as no surprise, then, that when the U.S. Department of Agriculture and

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported in 2011 the top source of

calories throughout all of childhood from age 2 through 18, in this our most obese

generation in history, the top culprit was empty calories from refined grain treats.xxv

Given that the predominant paradigm of giving processed white rice flour cereal to

babies lacks adequate scientific justification, and given that this practice could be

predicted to result in unhealthy eating patterns that we see throughout childhood, and

given that our current feeding methodologies have been accompanied by an

unprecedented wave of overweigh and obese babies, the time has come to abandon white

rice cereal in favor of healthier choices for babies.”

Additionally, rice cereal is linked to a higher risk of diabetes.

Processed refined grains, including white rice, have been linked to altered metabolic

effects including serum insulin spikes. Could this lead to insulin resistance or even type 2
diabetes?

That’s just what a 2010 Harvard study suggests. Researchers at the Harvard School of

Public Health analyzed rice eating and diabetes in about 200,000 people. Those who ate

white rice 5 or more times a week had a 17% increased risk of type 2 diabetes compared

with those who ate it less than once a month. Separately, those who ate 2 or more

servings of brown rice a week had an 11 % decrease of type 2 diabetes. But the biggest

difference came in those who chose brown rice or another whole grain instead of white

rice – with up to a 36% reduced risk.xxxii”

The reason that this occurs is because the body needs pancreatic amylase to break down grains. Babies do not produce amylase fully until around 18-24 months, and when they are fed rice cereal before that time, it causes a spike in blood sugar levels, which can lead to pancreatic failure & diabetes later in life. Since babies cannot digest rice cereal, it sits in their gut and rots. This can lead to digestive problems, immediate and long term, and can lead to a very unhappy baby, despite the nay-sayers who claim that “their babies ate it and turned out just fine”….just please don’t even get me started on THAT argument! Babies’ guts only contain one carbohydrate enzyme: lactase. This is biological proof that babies only need breast milk until they are at least a year old.

So if we’re not feeding rice cereal, what foods should we start with?
The following health organizations, as well as the CDC, recommend delaying solids until AT LEAST six months, and then solids should GRADUALLY be introduced:
World Health Organization
American Academy of Pediatrics
UNICEF
American Academy of Family Physicians
Australian National Health and Medical Research Council
Health Canada
http://kellymom.com/nutrition/starting-solids/delay-solids/

A recent article in the New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/25/health/many-babies-fed-solid-food-too-soon-cdc-finds.html?_r=0 suggests that some moms give their babies food too early to help them to sleep, however, this can be a dangerous practice. Adding rice cereal to a bottle is outright dangerous. Not only is it a choking hazard, but when babies are manipulated into sleeping longer, it greatly increases the chance of SIDS.

I prefer baby led solids (or baby led weaning) for my family. Some of the foods that are considered to be good first foods are:
avocados
sweet potatoes
pumpkin
peas
mangos

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A powerful story of a mother determined…

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I got an email from an Instagram fan from a beautiful mama that told of her struggle to breastfeed after rejecting the idea at first and not getting enough education before her babe was born…. I want to share it with you now.  It is beautifully written, so I  am going to paste her email below. I am so proud of her for being such a strong and amazing mother even when her breastfeeding journey seemed hopeless… Here is her story:
 
Dear Latchthebabes,
 
I wanted to share my breastfeeding journey to help other people like me out there as well as for your bfing research! I want to start off my saying the I was breastfed until I was 4 years old! Every time my mom shares this with people (which she loves to do) I would always get super embarrassed. Before I got pregnant, I was a completely different person. I was “that guy” who would see people breastfeeding in a restaurant and think to myself “what the hell do that at home”. I can even remember at 9 months pregnant going to The Cheesecake Factory and seeing a woman breastfeeding at the table and thinking “That is totally not gonna be me doing that at a restaurant!”. Things really really change when you become a mother!!! When i was pregnant, i made the decision that i wanted to breastfeed but my one regret is not educating myself when i was pregnant what breastfeeding actually entails. I thought it was something so easy, instinctual, and natural and that my baby would just know what to do and it would be easy as 1,2,3. I was sooo soooo wrong. Breastfeeding has been the HARDEST thing i have ever done, way harder than being pregnant, being in labor, motherhood. The beginning 6 weeks of breastfeeding was the most stressful time in my life! So fast forward to January 29, 2013 – the day i was induced. Once Rayden was born, the nurse immediately tried to get him to breastfeed but she told me he wouldn’t latch because he learned how to “suck his tongue”in utero and she would send the lactation nurse in later. The lactation nurse helped me get him to latch but he would not stay latched and I couldn’t latch him on without her help (it was like a 4 person 8 hand job somehow). Every time i tried to breastfeed him in the hospital it wasn’t going well and i wasn’t getting the help i needed from the nurses. However, the lactation nurse told me to NOT supplement with formula WHATEVER I DO. So i figured Rayden was getting enough from what I was doing. 2 days after his birth, we were discharged from the hospital with a billiruben level of 11. Since it was slightly elevated, they set up an appointment in the morning to see the pediatrician. That day when I got home, I tried so many times to breastfeed him myself and I could not get him to latch at all. I was so frustrated between lack of sleep, healing from labor, crazy hormones, and adjusting to a newborn I was going crazy. I really felt like supplementing and quitting, but that voice in the back of my head remembered the nurse saying NEVER SUPPLEMENT !!! So the next morning I took Rayden in and his billiruben was a 19! That was super high and he was immediately admitted to the NICU for “breastfeeding related dehydration jaundice”. This was devastating to me, seeing my little 7 lb. baby hooked up to machines and under a light for 2 days. I was so mad, i was mad at myself, mad at the lactation nurse, mad at breastfeeding, I felt guilty and like a failure. If i only supplemented my son wouldn’t be in the NICU. While in the NICU, i attempted to breastfeed, pumped, fed him that and supplemented with formula. He still was not feeding from the breast too well but took the bottle very well. After 2 days he was discharged and was completely better. Once home, I was so scared of him getting dehydrated again that i would breastfeed him and immediately give him a formula bottle to make sure he got enough. When i went to the pediatrician the following day, he told me Rayden is not breastfeeding well now because of nipple confusion. I was ordered by the doctor to stop all pacifiers, bottles, and strictly breastfeed. Breastfeed all day if i had to he said. I thought to myself, yeah easy for you to say your a man!!! Again, i felt like giving up. I was so tired from everything that happened but i didn’t give up i listened to the doctor and basically nursed all day. Rayden was getting the hang of it but he was not an efficient nurser. So i basically would feed him, he would nurse for 45 minutes, then have to feed him in an hour so i was so tired of breastfeeding! My boobs hurt, nipples hurt, and I had no life other then breastfeeding. But i hung in there for my sons sake. I told myself, I am not giving up now after everything i have been through! Fast forward to when Rayden was about 3 weeks old, gaining weight, happy baby during the day but 8pm rolls around and he would be sooo fussy refuse to nurse. I had no idea about the witching hour! I googled his symptoms and it turns out thats what it was. The witching hours are terrible (and still are but are getting better) but it makes nursing really hard…once again i wanted to give up but said to myself NO after everything i have overcome. I can finally say now that Rayden is 11 weeks old, breastfeeding is so easy and I am so happy i stuck with it. He is such an efficient breastfeeder. He now only breastfeeds 6-8 times a day and only for 10 minutes and only one side at a time. I no longer feel like all i do is breastfeed. I actually enjoy side laying breastfeeding and cuddling with him. I couldn’t imagine myself making bottles and feeding it to him. How would he fall asleep? He loves to nurse to sleep, it makes him so happy to cuddle and nurse. I did a complete 360. I now nurse in public all the time. I still hate nursing in public but i do it because my baby needs to eat. I don’t care really if people are offended by it, because i am doing something completely natural for my son. I don’t blame the people who have given up on breastfeeding. I almost gave up on it 20 times. It i truly a learning experience for mother AND baby. Its not as easy as people think. It takes a lot of patience, perseverance, and willpower. But it is so worth it! Sorry to have written a novel but i want to let you know my story and that breastfeeding does get easier like they say. I still struggle with it sometimes, but i always overcome it.
 
Sincerely,
@Lianazombie

Mississippi Hippie Wandering

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I live in the state with one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the country….we also have the highest obesity rates, highest teen pregnancy rate, and also SIDS cases. Coincidence? Nope.  One of the factors in breastfeeding success is socio-economic status. I grew up in a very poor family and have seen many people feed their newborn babies cornbread with pea juice poured over it to soften it up. Newborns. Two week old babies. I have seen many of my friends give their months old babies Pepsi & Mt. Dew in their bottles and snickered about how cute it was and how much the babe liked it. I get laughed at to this day by my family and friends because of my hippie-leaning ways and my mission to feed my children better, more healthy options.  It’s not uncommon for my children to go visit for a weekend at one of my aunts and come home with a goody bag full of candy, gum, honey buns, and whatever else they can find. Also whenever my son goes to his favorite aunts house, he comes home with $5 for a gallon of milk. Because I don’t buy it & my children are deprived. I know that they really do mean well…that is what they have known. They love us so much and there have been times in my life that I genuinely could not have made it without them. But that was a different time, and I am now aware of the toll that those unhealthy things can take on a body, especially a childs body. An article from Dr. Sears that I read recently stated that sugar inhibits the immune system by 50%, and that percentage is more in children.  This is not a “can”…this is a DOES.  This leads me to my next subject, Dr. Sears. I have practiced attachment parenting with all of my children.  I breastfed my sons for 3 1/2, 2 1/2, and 4 years and I plan to let my daughter wean whenever she is ready.  For the most part my family has been supportive, except the occasionaly snarky comment about how they are going to breastfeed until they go off to college. By then I will put it in a cup, tho.  Before someone gets their underwear in a bunch about how long I have breastfed my babies, it is not weird, strange, disguisting, child abuse, or any of those other things that people try to categorize full term breastfeeding in. It is biologically normal and recommended by every single major health organization in the world.  My mission is to provide education to those who want it and I’m not here to defend my actions to anyone. I will be doing research based posts on this blog about controversial topics and will probably offend someone, but I’ve found that the ones who get defensive are the ones who made bad decisions for their babies. I have made bad decisions, too, but because of my using my own mothering instincts and education I have gotten better. It is still a struggle every day.  Please join me on this jouney to find the most update research on parenting and use what you can. Leave what you can.

Latch the Babes!

~Brandy