Never Feed Your Baby This
(BlackDoctor.org) — As a new parent, you have a LOT of questions. A common one is what are the best foods for a baby, and what are the best ones to avoid.
The Importance of Breastfeeding
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends continued breastfeeding (or formula feeding, when necessary) beyond a child’s first birthday, as long as it’s mutually desired by mother and child, and unless a doctor suggests otherwise. In fact, worldwide, the average age for weaning is between two and four. In some societies, breastfeeding continues up to age six or seven — not that we’re saying you should follow suit, of course!
Scientific research on the benefits of long-term breastfeeding for the health and well-being of both the child and the mother continues to grow. Further research has shown that the longer children are breastfed in their first year of life, the better they perform in tests of cognitive skills and academic achievement. This especially holds true for children who are breastfed for more than eight months.
That said, when you and your baby are finally ready to take the next step beyond breastfeeding (or formula feeding), here’s what you should avoid at least until baby’s first birthday:
Honey can contain poisonous botulism spores. While an adult’s intestinal tract is strong enough to prevent the growth of these spores, a baby’s system is not, and can produce life-threatening, poisoning toxins.
The sticky and thick consistency of peanut butter can make it hard for an infant to swallow. Avoid peanut butter and other thick buttery spreads to your child.
Breast milk is the most advised choice until your child is a year old. Babies cannot properly digest the protein in cow’s milk. Also, cow’s milk lacks many nutrients found in breast milk, and contains minerals that could damage a baby’s developing kidneys.
Some Other Foods to Avoid
• Salt (baby’s kidneys are not strong enough)
• Low-fat foods (not recommended for kids under 2)
• Undiluted citrus and fruit juices
• Raw eggs
• Artificial sweeteners
• Hot dogs and sausages that are high in fat
• Foods with added spices and seasonings
Pea-sized foods are the safest for babies because there’s less of a choking hazard. Cut or dice everything you serve your baby, from fruits and vegetables to cheese and meats. Small, hard foods like nuts, popcorn, hard candies, raisins should be avoided as your baby could choke on them. Even soft foods like marshmallows and jelly candies can get stuck in your baby’s throat.
Doctors recommend waiting until the age of 1 or later to introduce solid foods that are common allergens, such as foods containing nuts. It’s best to introduce new foods gradually, waiting several days to make sure your baby does not have a bad reaction to the meal. If allergies run in your family, check with your doctor to come up with the best plan for introducing foods like cow’s milk, nuts, wheat, soy, fish and eggs.
Never let your baby eat in the car. It is difficult to supervise while driving and it’s possible for them to choke on food if the ride becomes bumpy. If using a rub-on teething medication, make sure to keep an eye on your baby’s eating habits because the medication could numb his or her throat and make it hard to swallow.
The Safest Foods To Feed Your Baby
Within the first few weeks of weaning, it’s safest to feed babies pureed foods, like pureed carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, cooked apple, banana and pear. Packaged baby foods often contain a lot of sugar, so it’s actually healthiest to puree the food yourself, so that you know exactly what you’re feeding your baby.
Depression In Diabetic Women Around Pregnancy
(BlackDoctor.org) — Women in low-income housing who have diabetes are at a higher risk of depression during pregnancy or after birth, a new study found.
And, it didn’t matter whether the women developed diabetes before or during pregnancy, or if they were taking insulin or oral medications. The risk of depression was still much stronger for women with diabetes, the study found.
“Those with diabetes have nearly twice the risk of depression during pregnancy and post-partum,” said the study’s lead author, Katy Backes Kozhimannil, a research fellow in the department of ambulatory care and prevention at Harvard Medical School in Boston.
And, Kozhimannil added, women who’d never been depressed before appeared to be at risk, too. “One in 10 women who had no indication of prior depression received a diagnosis of depression within a year following delivery,” she said.
Results of the study were published in the Feb. 25 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Although the study didn’t look at potential reasons for this association, Kozhimannil said there are biological changes that occur with diabetes that might increase the risk of depression. She also said the stress of managing a chronic illness might contribute to the risk of depression.
Post-partum depression affects about 10 percent of new mothers, usually between two and six months after birth, according to background information in the study. If left untreated, post-partum depression can affect the mother-child relationship as well as the child’s development.
Risk factors for post-partum depression include a history of depression, troubled relationships, domestic violence, stressful life events, financial problems, lack of social or emotional support, a difficult pregnancy or delivery, and health problems with the baby. Previous studies have linked diabetes to an increased risk of depression in general, according to the study authors.
To assess whether or not diabetes is a factor in pre- and post-partum depression, Kozhimannil and her colleagues reviewed data on more than 11,000 women who gave birth between 2004 and 2006. All of the women were continuously enrolled in Medicaid during the study period.
From this low-income population, the researchers found that 15.2 percent of women with diabetes developed depression during or after their pregnancy. In women without diabetes, that number was 8.5 percent. In women who’d never been depressed before, 9.6 percent of those with diabetes developed depression, compared to 5.9 percent of those without the blood sugar condition.
“Health-care facilities need to pay particular attention for depression in women with diabetes during the post-partum period,” said Kozhimannil. “Both diabetes and depression in the post-partum period are treatable.”
Dr. Robert Welch, chairman of obstetrics and gynecology at Providence Hospital in Southfield, Mich., called the new research an interesting study, but said it left some important questions unanswered. For example, he wondered how many of these pregnancies were planned, and exactly how many of the women with diabetes were newly diagnosed?
“A new diagnosis may be overwhelming for a lot of women,” he said.
Also, in a Medicaid population, it can be more difficult to get diabetes well monitored, which could add to the stress these women are already feeling, Welch said. “Diabetes is an expensive disease, and this study calls out the need for additional mid-level providers who have more time to assist in making [a depression] diagnosis,” he said.
Both Welch and Kozhimannil said that while this study was done with low-income women, the findings may be similar for higher-income women, though the stressors may be different.
Welch recommended that no matter what your income, if you’re expecting, you should try to set up a support system before the baby arrives. Try to set up extra help so you’re not alone with the baby day after day, he said.
“Years ago, when you brought a baby home, grandma and other family members were there. Now, grandmothers are working. And, if you have diabetes, too, it’s an overwhelming situation. You’re fatigued from the new baby and have the stress of managing diabetes,” he said.