Picture
BPA. It sounds like it would be a friendly acronym. Maybe something you would text to your friends. Unfortunately, this acronym, which stands for bisphenol A, has been popping up in the news lately. And the things being said about it aren’t so friendly. 

According to bisphenol-a.org, an online resource about the chemical, BPA is:

“...an industrial chemical used primarily to make polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins – both of which are used in countless applications that make our lives easier, healthier and safer, each and every day.” 

They are undoubtedly right about the countless applications part. There are the things that we might think of right off hand that we hear about all the time like those plastic water bottles we can’t live (or get on the treadmill) without. Then there are the things that we might not think about: aluminum cans, baby bottles, baby toys, water pipes — even our sunglasses!

The interesting (and potentially dangerous) thing about BPA is that it mimics estrogen in our bodies. In fact, thedailygreen.com reports that BPA was originally made in 1891 as a possible estrogen replacement therapy. And too many hormones in the body, as we well know, can have dangerous health consequences, especially when we are exposed to it all the time.
 
baby food
Switching baby from breast milk or formula to solid foods can be a stressful time, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are some common questions and answers related to switching baby to solid foods:

When should I start introducing solids?

We now recommend introducing baby to solid foods at 6 months of age. Research has shown the introducing solids earlier may increase the risk for infections or allergies, and can prevent baby from getting enough Calories. Despite the myth: introducing solids earlier does not help baby sleep. Introducing solids too long after 6 months may cause some delays in growth, nutrient deficiencies or aversions to textures. 

What foods should I introduce first?

At 6 months of age, baby’s iron stores begin to run out, and breast milk doesn’t provide enough iron. For this reason it is important to offer iron-rich foods at 6 months of age, such as iron-fortified cereals, meats, egg yolk, beans and lentils. Providing a source of vitamin C with iron-rich foods, such as sweet potato, squash, and broccoli will help baby absorb the iron better. 

Slowly introduce new foods, one at a time, every 3 days. This allows time to watch if an allergy develops. Introduce foods from a variety of food groups to ensure baby gets adequate nutrients.

*Always breastfeed (or give formula) first before offering solid foods. Milk will still provide the majority of nutrition and Calories at this stage.

What about textures? 

Baby needs to start with smooth textures, such as pureed, strained and mashed. Over time, as they develop better oral-motor skills, they can progress to grated, minced lumpy and diced textures. Around 9-12 months baby should be able to handle soft, finely chopped and finger foods.

When can I switch to cow’s milk?

You can start to introduce whole (homo) cow’s milk at 9-12 months of age. If your child is eating solid foods really well, 9 months is ok, otherwise it is best to wait closer to 12 months.

*Soy, rice and other vegetarian beverages do not have the same nutrition as breast or cow’s milk and so are not recommended before 2 years of age. 

What foods should I not feed my baby?
  • Egg whites and honey should be avoided until one year of age.
  • Low fat milk products should not be given to baby until 2 years of age. 
  • Excess salt and sugar. Extra sugar does not provide nutrients, and salt his hard on baby’s kidneys. 
  • Allergin foods: if you have a family history of allergies, talk to your doctor or dietitian about which foods to avoid and until what age. 
Does my baby need supplements? 

Exclusively breastfed infants (for the first 6 months of life) will need a 400IU vitamin D supplement until 1 year of age, even after they start eating solid foods. Multivitamin drops with vitamins A and C are not required for healthy term infants. After one year of age, babies should continue to get 200IU of vitamin D until they are getting 2 cups of vitamin D-fortified milk per day.

Things to remember: 
  • All babies are different - don’t compare your child to other children. Let your child go at their own pace, and don’t stress about it
  • Don’t take advice from friends and family. Recommendations and research changes all the time. Take advice from a health professional.
  • Babies have small stomachs and will not eat a lot right away. Offer frequent meals and snacks, 1-2 tsp at a time, and slowly increase as baby wants it.
  • Babies do not need juice! If you’re going to give juice make sure it’s 100% fruit juice and limit to 2-4 ounces in a cup, non-diluted.
  • Gagging is normal as baby gets used to new tastes and textures. Choking is NOT normal.


Janine Bolton

Picture
 
Picture
Lactose intolerance is extremely common among adults in our culture. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), about 70% of the world’s population has a lactase deficiency. Lactose intolerance in more common among some ethnic groups. According to the AAP, about 20% of hispanic, asian and black children younger than the age of 5 show some evidence of lactose intolerance, whereas caucasian children typically do not develop symptoms until after 4 - 5 years of age. 

What is lactose intolerance?

Lactose is a naturally-occurring sugar in all mammalian milk. Lactose intolerance is a deficiency in the enzyme (lactase) that breaks down lactose in the gut. Common symptoms are: abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, flatulence, and bloating after eating lactose-containing foods. 

*It’s important to note that lactose intolerance differs from a cow’s milk allergy, which is more severe and involves a reaction of the immune system. Lactose intolerance does not cause vomiting or eczema, and these symptoms may indicate a more serious condition.

When feeding infants it’s common for them to be fussy, spit up, and have occasional wet poops. Sometimes it’s difficult to tell if these are normal activities, or if baby is having a reaction to something they ate. Since milk is the primary component of a baby’s diet, it’s easy to assume lactose intolerance may be the cause. 

In actuality, mother nature is quite resourceful, and as lactose is the primary sugar in breast milk and often the sole source of nutrition for the first 6 months, she is pretty good at making sure infants are able to digest that sugar properly. For this reason it is extremely rare for infants to be lactose intolerant, and is uncommon before the ages of 2-3 in all populations for healthy, term infants. However, it is sometimes seen more often in pre-term infants.

Best food? Mom's milk

Although it’s very rare for infants to have an intolerance to lactose, it’s not impossible. Nevertheless, because lactose intolerance will not harm your baby (as long as s/he is growing normally) and the benefits of breast milk are unmatched by formula, the AAP recommends that breastfed infants with a lactose intolerance should be continued on human milk. 

Breast milk always contains lactose and is not influenced by mom’s diet, so there’s no need for mom to stop drinking milk while breastfeeding. For formula-fed infants, lactose-free formulas are available but have not been shown to have any clinical  advantages (growth, development, etc.).  Lactose-free formulas may reduce some symptoms for your baby, but this is not always the case. 

Should kids avoid dairy?

For older children, complete avoidance of lactose-containing foods will resolve symptoms, however, avoidance of all dairy foods is not entirely necessary and has been linked with suboptimal bone development in children. There are different severities of lactose intolerance, depending on the amount of enzyme you produce. 

Some people are able to eat yogurts and aged cheese because the lactose content isn’t quite as high in these dairy foods. As calcium is very important for bones and teeth for growing children, if dairy is completely eliminated it is important to provide a calcium supplement and/or ensure adequate calcium intake from non-dairy sources. 

Talk to your doctor or dietitian if this is the case. Other options include using an oral lactase supplement, or lactose-free milk. Soy, rice and other non-mammalian milks are available as lactose-free substitutes, but their nutritional quality is not quite equal to that of cow’s milk. 

Janine Bolton

 
Picture
source: Erin Bell
Tiny fingers, tiny toes!  You take the time to count each one and then watch as they grow.  That growth, by the way, will amaze you.  It seems they go from tiny to training wheels overnight.  And with that, it’s best to start thinking of their vitamin and mineral needs long before those training wheels.

Breast is best

Breast milk is best for your baby, as it’s the most important of food for at least the first 6 to 9 months.  Don’t be in a hurry to shove a spoonful of cereal into your baby’s face, as they don’t digest grains as well as we can. Our children’s digestive systems don’t have the strength to digest what adults can – and it’s at age 6-7 before their system has even matured.  

If you’re breast feeding, then Mom should be taking a good multi-vitamin and mineral supplement for breast feeding, as well as at least 1000 I.U. per day of Vitamin D as breast milk is a little shy of vitamin D.  Breast really IS best, because it has the correct ratio of fats, complex carbohydrates and protein for babies.  Unlike cow’s milk formula, which is very difficult for babies to digest, Momma’s milk is much easier for baby to receive and nutrients are better absorbed by their tiny digestive tracts.  

I always recommend that nursing mothers also take a good pro-biotic supplement with at least 10 billion active bacterial cultures in it.  This helps strengthen both Mom and baby’s digestive tract, providing all the “good” bacteria that helps combat infection and ward off illness and nasty things like thrush, ear infections and sinus infections.  

What about "real" foods?

Once baby is eating some foods, start with ripe bananas, avocado (which provides good fats) and continue to breast feed as much as your baby wishes.   Steamed, mashed veggies are good first foods and they digest well.  A good multi-vitamin supplement, in liquid form is best for babies aged 6 months and up – one that includes vitamins A, D and C. 

Supplements like these can be mixed into fruit and they usually taste good to baby. Again, probiotics are key to good digestion, so a good infant strain of probiotics can be added to fruits, veggies and cereals so baby has a good start in the intestines.  Too many times I see kids with ear infections, sinus infections, rashes, eczema, tummy problems and chronic coughs – and it’s probiotics to the rescue!  

Some parents argue against their child needing supplements – citing that their vitamin and mineral needs are “in their food.”  Well, yes, and miserably – no!  Today’s over processed, transported, imported, genetically modified, food-additive and fat-laden foods don’t deliver the needed vitamin and mineral content babies and toddlers need each day.  Even if you eat healthy, the soil conditions we grow our foods in today pale in comparison to soil conditions decades ago – leaving us with fewer and fewer naturally occurring vitamins and minerals.  This is why supplementing is almost completely necessary these days. 

Speak with an expert!

Health stores offer a staggering variety of supplements; so it’s best to invest… take the time to see a registered or certified nutritionist or natural health care provider if you are boggled by the bottles on store shelves.  These people are trained to help - and it’s better to know before you buy!

Erin Bell