Friday, August 05, 2011

Friday Wrap-up: Parenting and Pregnancy News

Tia Mowry Hits the Red Carpet One Month After Baby [People]

A Father's Search for a Drug for Down Syndrome [NYTimes]

Pregnant in the Weight Room [Babble]

Postpartum Depression and Difficulty Breast-Feeding May Go Hand in Hand [Time]

Japan scientists coax sperm from stem cells [AFP]

Planned Parenthood Goes Bollywood [YouTube]

Newborn wears wedding proposal on his chest [gaston gazette]

Kids Hit Digital Milestones at Younger Ages [SFGate]

Antifungal Drug Fluconazole Might Cause Birth Defects [WSJ]

Placenta Feeds Itself to Fetus in Times of Starvation [ScientificAmerican]

CDC: Hospitals Are Failing to Support Breastfeeding

Less than four percent of hospitals in the United States provide enough support for mothers to successfully breastfeed after birth, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The report suggests that breastfeeding rates would be much higher if hospitals were more supportive, which would effectively prevent a host of health problems among the general population.

Director of the CDC, Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., M.P.H, says of the findings:

“Those first few hours and days that a mom and her baby spend learning to breastfeed are critical.  Hospitals need to better support breastfeeding, as this is one of the most important things a mother can do for her newborn.  Breastfeeding helps babies grow up healthy and reduces health care costs.”

The results are shocking, although many moms were well-aware of the situation, often complaining about the corporate presence of formula companies in the hospital setting. The report found that only fourteen percent of hospitals had a breastfeeding policy in place and in nearly 80 percent of hospitals, breastfed infants are given formula even though it isn't medically necessary. Interrupting those first nursing sessions by introducing formula through a bottle can hamper and put an end to the breastfeeding relationship. The report also found that allowing mothers and babies to room together in the first 24 hours was only practiced in a third of hospitals.  Rooming-in allows breastfeeding to take hold naturally, without obstacles. Hospitals also rarely followed up with patients once they left the hospital – 75 percent did not contact the mother after discharge or connect her to a lactation consultant, WIC or other local resource.

The CDC is using the report to remind medical professionals and new parents of the ten steps proven to ensure a long breastfeeding relationship that were proposed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, including:
  • Only give healthy, breastfed infants breast milk unless there is some medical need for any other type of food or drink.  
  • Encourage mothers to room-in with their newborn after delivery and stay with their baby 24 hours a day.
  • Connect mothers with support groups and consultants after leaving the hospital.
You can read the steps in full here

Hopefully this report will encourage hospitals to implement better practices to encourage breastfeeding. When deciding on a hospital for delivery, it would be worthwhile to find out what steps they take to encourage the healthy practice.

Did you feel like your hospital provided enough breastfeeding support?

Majority of U.S. Hospitals Do Not Fully Support Breastfeeding [PRNewswire]

Thursday, August 04, 2011

More Reasons for Omega-3 Fatty Acids During Pregnancy

Good mood? Check. Glowing skin? Check. The list of reasons to include omega-3 fatty acids in your diet is always growing and this week new benefits for your developing baby may have been found. Babies whose mothers took omega-3 supplements during pregnancy were better able to fight the common cold, according to one recent study and a study in mice revealed that babies of mice that consumed a diet rich in omega-3 were less likely to develop breast cancer.

Researchers at Emory University and in Mexico reported in the Journal of Pediatrics that babies whose mothers were given supplements of omega-3 each day suffered fewer cold symptoms in the first six months after birth. Nasal congestion, coughing, and running noses didn’t last as long in the babies whose mothers supplemented as opposed to the group that was given a placebo. The finding is significant because illness in a newborn with an undeveloped immune system can be cause for alarm. The researchers say that the findings suggest that a mother’s diet during pregnancy could be programming a baby’s immune system at a cellular level. There was a downside to the supplementation though - babies also experienced more rashes and more frequent vomiting. Nevertheless, reducing the severity of a cold during infancy should not be discounted. Two-three servings of fish per week would provide an equal amount of omega-3 to the supplements used in the study.

 A study in mice also points to important benefits for children of mothers getting omega-3 in their diet during pregnancy. Mice were fed a diet rich in canola oil, a significant source of omega-3, while pregnant and nursing and then compared to a group that consumed a corn oil-rich diet, which is high in omega-6. The babies of mice fed the omega-3 diet had fewer cases of mammary gland cancer. Even more intriguing is the fact that the two groups had very different gene expressions, particularly in the genes related to cancer development.

The highlighted studies are preliminary but their findings suggest more reasons for pregnant women to consume foods rich in omega-3 or to take fish oil supplements. It seems possible that families with a history of breast cancer could benefit significantly from consuming omega-3 fatty acids while pregnant and nursing. Families who have experienced a sick newborn will nonetheless be happy to possibly reduce the duration of symptoms in future babies.

Are you making sure to get omega-3 fatty acids in your diet?

Research links diet during pregnancy to breast cancer risk reduction in female offspring [Eurekalert}
Fish Oil During Pregnancy Fights Colds Among Newborns [Time]

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Best of the Web: Pregnancy and Parenting News

Marla Sokoloff Is Going To Be A Mommy! [CelebrityBabyScoop]

 Not our parents' divorce [TheWeek]

Photos of Lauryn Hill's Baby Boy Revealed [PopCrush]

World record breastfeeding attempt [Voxy]

Isn't A Baby Supposed To Cramp Your Style? [Jezebel]

A tablet computer for babies? [LATimes]

100 Best Children's Books [Babble]

WA leads nation in parents opting out of vaccines [SeattlePI]

Fantasia Announces Her Pregnancy on Stage [People]

Facebook adds pregnancy status to profiles [CBS]

Woman Goes Into Labor, Finishes Bar Exam Anyway [Jezebel]

Babies Get Too Much Salt from Cow's Milk and Processed Foods

Giving a baby cow's milk before he reaches the age of one is not recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, because it does not meet all of his nutritional needs. A new study lends more reason to avoid the creamy white stuff before a child reaches a year old - a high salt content. Babies don't need much salt in their diet, but experts are saying that many babies are getting an extra load of salt from cow's milk and processed foods.

Researchers have uncovered a surprising statistic: cow’s milk contains four times as much salt as breast milk. They say that a baby consuming 25 fluid ounces of cow’s milk is receiving 385mg of salt, which is nearly half the recommended maximum. Babies under one year old should consume less than one gram of salt per day. The researchers also discovered that babies ingesting cow’s milk were more likely to be eating processed foods, which tend to contain copious amounts of salt as well.

Eating too much salt puts organs under stress and can cause a lifetime of health problems. Children in particular experience more stress on their kidneys from a diet high in salt. High salt diets contribute to high blood pressure, which can lead to heart disease, kidney failure and stroke. Plus, babies fed a salty diet tend to pursue salty foods for life.

The nutritionists from Bristol University who completed the study are calling for food manufacturers to cut down on salt in their products. Parents can also watch their baby’s salt intake by reading the labels for salt content on pre-packaged foods, limiting their baby's intake of adult foods such as bread and pasta dishes and only serving breast milk or formula as a fluid in the first year of life. Homemade baby food allows parents to have more control over how much salt is in a baby’s diet. Salt is an acquired taste and unnecessary to add to baby food.

Do you watch your baby's salt intake?

Cow's milk for infants and children [NIH]
Cow's milk 'too salty for babies' [The Telegraph]
Hypertension [NIH]

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

It's World Breastfeeding Week!

This week is World Breastfeeding Week, which is celebrated annually through the first week of August in 120 countries. The week is meant to bring more awareness to the benefits of breastfeeding for infants, mothers and society as a whole. This year's theme is: "Talk to Me! Breastfeeding - a 3D Experience," intended to focus on the need for more communication about breastfeeding between medical professionals, mothers, government and health organizations.

The reasons to breastfeed are numerous. According to the United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF), breastfeeding is directly linked with reducing deaths of children under the age of five. Anthony Lake, Executive Director of UNICEF says: “No other preventive intervention is more cost effective in reducing the number of children who die before reaching their fifth birthdays.”

Breast milk has been shown to boost a baby’s immune system, help fight off infection, and reduce the risk of SIDS. Mothers who breastfeed have a reduced risk of developing breast cancer, ovarian cancer and osteoporosis. Breastfeeding is free, as opposed to the high costs of formula and can be life-saving in emergency situations. Plus, nursing mothers are more likely to take better care of their health in the postpartum period and return to their pre-pregnancy weight faster.

Although the benefits of breastfeeding are many, it does not come easily for many moms. If you experience difficulties, contact your local La Leche League or your health care provider for assistance getting through the rough patches. To learn more about breastfeeding, click here.  

Are you breastfeeding?

UN’s message to mothers: breastfeeding can save your baby’s life [UN News Centre]
Breastfeeding [BabyWeekly]

Monday, August 01, 2011

Sam Taylor-Wood, Aaron Johnson Expecting

Filmmaker Sam Taylor-Wood (44) is expecting a second child with actor Aaron Johnson (21), People reports. The newest addition will join their one-year-old daughter, Wylda Rae. Taylor-Wood also has two daughters from a previous marriage.

The couple has been the subject of controversy due to their 23-year age difference.  They met on the set of Taylor-Wood’s film Nowhere Boy. Johnson said of the relationship: “I've got a wonderful woman. I'm an old soul, and she's a young soul."

Congratulations to the happy couple!

Aaron Johnson, Sam Taylor-Wood Expecting Second Child [People]