Archive for the ‘Breastfeeding’ Category

First Years introduces BPA free bottles

The First Years by Learning Curve has created a BPA-free version of their popular Breastflow and Soothie bottles.

The new Breastflow bottle comes in a starter set, a 5oz bottle and a 9oz bottle.

The bottle is also available with BPA, so please be careful when deciding to purchase this product. So far, Amazon and the First Years’ website are the only places I have seen the BPA free version available for purchase.

The Soothie Bottle is available in a starter set, a 5oz bottle and a 9oz bottle as well. It also comes in a BPA version, so be careful when purchasing, making sure it is clearly labeled BPA free. The bottles are available on Amazon, but I did not see on the First Years’ website.

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FDA finds melamine in popular US infant formulas

And looks like they have been trying to keep this quiet. Melamine has been detected in many popular infant formulas.

The FDA is contradicting themselves saying now that the melamine levels detected are “safe,” though last month the agency stated it was unable to identify any melamine exposure level as safe for infants.

Melamine is the chemical that was recently found in Chinese infant formula, which killed 4 infants and sickened over 50,000. The FDA is saying parents should not find alternatives to formula, however, some brands tested at lower levels than others, so I say parents should determine what is best for their child. And when changing diet, it’s best to contact your pediatrician before making changes.

Here is an excerpt from the article on some of the findings:

According to FDA data for tests of 77 infant formula samples, a trace concentration of melamine was detected in one product — Mead Johnson’s Infant Formula Powder, Enfamil LIPIL with Iron. An FDA spreadsheet shows two tests were conducted on the Enfamil, with readings of 0.137 and 0.14 parts per million.

Three tests of Nestle‘s Good Start Supreme Infant Formula with Iron detected an average of 0.247 parts per million of cyanuric acid, a melamine byproduct.

The FDA said last month that the toxicity of cyanuric acid is under study, but that meanwhile it is “prudent” to assume that its potency is equal to that of melamine.

And while the FDA said tests of 18 samples of formula made by Abbott Laboratories, including its Similac brand, did not detect melamine, spokesman Colin McBean said some company tests did find the chemical. He did not identify the specific product or the number of positive tests.

Read the entire press release here.

Breastfeeding is the perferred way to feed a child and is increasingly becoming more popular thanks to better information on the advantages of breastfeeding reaching expecting parents. However in some cases, breastfeeding is just not possible, if if the desire to is there. In that situation, parents must consider donor milk or formula. And don’t babies deserve a safe formula free of chemicals and other toxins?

What you can do:

Contact your congressmen and let them know this is not acceptable.

Write the FDA.

Sign a petition, such as this one.

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Health tips for raising a green baby

I thought this was a great little article about how to raise a green baby. Of course, this is just for starters, but great first steps!

UNDATED (WJRT) — (09/15/08)–At some point during pregnancy, most parents worry about the world they’re bringing their child into, and being eco-friendly is topping a lot of priority lists right now.
If you are worried about keeping it “green” when you have a baby, we have some tips for parents and parents-to-be:

1) Cloth Diapers: Disposable diapers can take up to 500 years to decompose and every day, 50 million of these go into landfills in the United States. Disposables are convenient, it’s true, but cloth diapers have come a long way. Some cloth diapers are just like the kind you remember — layered flat diapers that you fold up onto the baby and secure with a safety pin. But there are many more options out there. There are pre-fold diapers, pocket diapers, fitted diapers, contour diapers and even all-in-one (AIO) diapers. The only extra time it takes is to wash the diapers. Another benefit — cloth diapers cause fewer (if any) diaper rashes than disposables, and some moms swear babies are easier to potty-train with cloth diapers than disposables.

2) Make your Own Baby Wipes: In the United States, 5,000 baby wipes are used per baby. Try making your own to cut back on waste. Cut pieces from cotton or flannel clothing or other material and sew the edges to prevent fraying. For the wipe solution, come up with your own variation, or try this one from babysabode.com: 
2 cups distilled water    
2-3 drops of tea tree oil (antiseptic and cleansing qualities)
1 T. your favorite baby oil  
2-3 drops of lavender oil (for its soothing qualities)
2 tsp. Dr. Bronner’s Organic Hemp Soap  

3) Breastfeed! It’s common sense, really. Breastfeeding is better for the health of the baby, the health of the mother and the health of the environment. 

4) Buy Organic Cotton Products: Here are a few reasons you may want to think twice before buying traditionally grown cotton. The chemicals used on cotton are among the most toxic substances used in farming; the runoff from irrigation seeps into our drinking water. Commercial cotton farming uses about 3 percent of the farmland but consumes 25 percent of the chemical pesticides and fertilizers. In the United States, about 600,000 tons of pesticides and chemical fertilizers are applied to cotton fields each season. Organic cotton is just a healthier choice. Organic crib mattresses and organic sheets are also green steps to consider.

5) Clean Smarter! Wash baby’s clothes in cold water, hang them to dry and try a simple homemade detergent of baking soda and vinegar. Or, if that’s too “homemade,” find an environmentally safe laundry detergent.

6) Make your own baby food: Making your own food not only eliminates tons (literally) of glass baby food jars, but it’s also a lot cheaper. (We know you can recycle glass, but recycling uses energy too!) Simply buy regular food that your family would eat and serve it to baby. The food may need to be blended to a soft consistency. Blend up a week’s worth of “meals” and store them in baby-size reusable containers in the freezer. Feeding baby organic food is also cheaper if done this way, by using frozen organic fruits and veggies, which are cheaper than their fresh counterparts.

7) Other Tips: Use plain old (chemical-free) olive oil as baby oil/lotion for your little one; buy baby items second-hand or swap with other parents; go online and find ways to make your own baby goods (i.e. diapers, breast pads, toys and baby clothes); and choose old-fashioned wooden, organic cotton or homemade toys.

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California Baby Care line product review

Similac SimplePac – Is it BPA-free or not?

This the the question SafeMama posed to the formula maker Similac.

Here is what SafeMama found out, or rather what they didn’t find out since Similac really didn’t fully answer their question:

Here is what we know and what Similac is allowing us to know.  The new SimplePac™ container and lid is made of High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) which indicated to me that the plastic container itself is BPA Free.  That much I know.  Here is where it gets tricky.  The representatives I spoke to, and I spoke to at least 3 because they kept transferring me when I pressed them for more information, will say this and only this:

“No portion of the container that comes in contact with the formula contains BPA.”

See the part I underlined?  That’s what concerns me.  They will not deviate from this scripted statement that I am sure their very expensive legal team created for them.  After the second rep transferred me to Pam, the Customer Relations representative specialist or whatever, I pressed further because I am not satisfied unless they say “Yes Ma’am, rest assured the whole thing is BPA Free.”

I asked Pam about the foil seal that typically is present in formula containers to preserve the product on the shelf.  I had no idea if this product even had one, but she confirmed it does.  She would not however provide me with any information regarding the foil seal, what it was made of and whether or not the foil is coated with an epoxy resin.  Many times those coatings do contain BPA.  She told me:

“We don’t have any information about that, I’m sorry.” And refused to delve any further claiming ignorance and denying she had any information to give me on the matter.  No information?  That sounds weird considering the company most CERTAINLY knows what its made of and whats on or not on it.   They don’t have any information they want parents to know is what it really means to me.

The main problem I have with their statement is that I don’t know what “comes in contact with the formula” means if they are being so strict in what they tell consumers.  Does it mean “only if you don’t turn it upside down so the formula doesn’t rest on the foil seal” count too?  Their resistance to disclose the materials on the foil seal makes me wonder.

Pam informed me that I should encourage our readers to call Similac if they have any questions.  Do go ahead and do that SafeParents.   Similac has a toll free number 1-800-232-7677 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., CST/CDT.  They would rather tell you, the ignorant consumer who doesn’t understand what HDPE is, themselves and bank on the fact that no one will ask the questions we really want answers to.

Bottom Line: To answer the original question “Is the new Similac SimplePac packaging BPA free?”  The answer for now is “Maybe.”  Or in Similac’s words “the part that comes in contact with the formula” is.

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15 things you should know to care for baby

I thought this was a pretty good little article from USA Weekend.

15 things you need to know to care for Baby
Important lessons from the latest research
By Kelly DiNardo
 
Forget sugar and spice and everything nice. Your little one is a lot more complicated than that. USA WEEKEND wants to make sure you have a recipe for success, so each year we sift through the most recent scientific studies and research to compile this list of the 15 most important findings you need to know. From getting Baby to love her green beans to avoiding tooth decay, we’ve got you covered so your child can be the focus.

1 Help kids eat veggies. “Ignore the faces Baby makes when you introduce new foods,” says Julie Mennella, one of the authors of a study published in Pediatrics that found repeated exposure to veggies increased babies’ consumption. “We gave babies a taste of green beans for several days, and after about eight days, they were more willing to eat it. They learn to like their veggies.”

2 Lower Baby’s allergy risk. Breast-feeding for four to six months may protect against food allergies, says a newly published policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). “If you can’t breast-feed and you have a history of allergies, choose a low-allergen formula that’s not the regular milk or soy-based formulas,” says Scott Sicherer, M.D., author of Understanding and Managing Your Child’s Food Allergies. “Also, hold off on solid food until your baby is about 4 to 6 months.”

3 Try honey. In January, the Food and Drug Administration advised that children under age 2 should not be given over-the-counter cough and cold medicines because of potential side effects that include rapid heart rates, convulsions and death. Instead, soothe your child’s cough with a teaspoon of honey. A study done by researchers at Penn State Children’s Hospital in Hershey, Pa., compared a teaspoon of buckwheat honey, honey-flavored cough suppressant and no treatment in 105 children with an upper respiratory tract infection and found that honey worked best at calming coughs. However, do not give honey to babies under the age of 1, as there are rare but severe side effects, including infantile botulism. Instead, when Baby gets a cough or cold, treat symptoms with non-aspirin pain reliever and saline nose drops.

4 Quit smoking. Researchers at Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia found that if Mom smoked before breast-feeding, her baby’s sleep was disrupted, and Baby slept for a shorter period of time. “Ideally, Mom will quit smoking,” says Mennella, who co-authored the study. “But if she doesn’t quit, she can time the breast-feeding so that Baby is minimally exposed to the nicotine in the milk. It gets into the milk within a half-hour of smoking and takes two to three hours to leave the body.”

5 Take a test. Well-child visits take about 15 to 30 minutes and cover many issues, including vaccination schedules, so it’s no surprise that when pediatricians are trying to cover so much territory, they fail to identify up to 80% of developmental delays in kids. In a Pediatrics study, researchers found that when parents completed a screening test in which they answered questions about their baby’s development, referral rates for continued evaluation increased by 224%. “Push your doctor to use a standardized developmental tool,” says Hollie Hix-Small, one of the study’s authors. She suggests completing the Ages & Stages questionnaire at asq.uoregon.edu. “It gives parents a better understanding of where their child should be.”

6 Watch Baby’s mouth. Decay in baby teeth is on the rise among 2- to 5-year-olds, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Keith Morley, D.M.D., president of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, offers these tips to keep Baby’s teeth in tip-top shape:

Tips
Take Baby to the dentist at age 1.
The dentist can walk parents through a series of things to do with their little one.
Brush Baby’s teeth as soon as they come into his mouth.
Use a fluoride-free toothpaste until he can spit.
Do not let Baby take a bottle to bed if he has teeth.
The sugars in the milk or formula contribute to decay.

7 Go skin to skin. In a review of studies, researchers at Vanderbilt University found that babies who were placed on their mother’s chest with just a blanket over their back were more successful with the initial latching on to Mom’s breast and breast-fed longer. “If possible, hold your newborn there after the first [ever] breast-feeding for about two hours,” says Elizabeth Moore, one of the review’s authors.

8 Skip the bumper. Bumper pads on cribs and bassinets are meant to prevent Baby from hurting herself, but a study by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that the risk of accidental death or injury outweighs their possible benefit. The researchers found that over 20 years, there were 27 accidental deaths and 25 non-fatal injuries of children between 1 month and 2 years of age that were attributed to the bumper pads.

9 Turn off the TV. Parents are ignoring the AAP recommendation that children under age 2 not watch TV. According to a study done by researchers at the University of Washington, 40% of babies are regular viewers by the age of 3 months, and 90% of2-year-olds are regular viewers. Studies have shown that early TV viewing is associated with a variety of long-term problems, such as slower development of reading and math skills. Toymakers also are introducing tech devices with screens, like children’s computers, for younger and younger kids. “I don’t see a reason to introduce those products to kids under 2,” says Frederick Zimmerman, the author of the TV study. “Interaction with other people, like parents and older siblings, is far better.”

10 Avoid unnecessary medication. “Every infant under 3 months of age is going to have reflux,” says Vikram Khoshoo, M.D. Khoshoo and researchers from West Jefferson Medical Center near New Orleans measured the reflux, or regurgitation of acid from the stomach into the esophagus, of 44 infants. They found that 42 of the babies were on anti-reflux medication, but only eight should have been. “If your child is gaining weight properly, not having recurrent respiratory problems, not excessively irritable, feeding well and not vomiting blood or bile, they do not need to be on medicine,” Khoshoo says. To help alleviate reflux, give Baby a smaller volume of milk and thicken it with rice cereal, and recline Baby at an angle of about 45 degrees during and after mealtimes. “If that does not help, the child needs to be evaluated,” Khoshoo says. “It’s not good to take unnecessary medications because we are still learning all of the effects.”

11 Check Baby’s head. Since parents have been told to put Baby to sleep on her back to avoid sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), the incidence of positional plagiocephaly has increased fivefold. Positional plagiocephaly occurs when Baby’s head becomes slightly misshapen because her skull is soft, and she’s primarily sleeping on one side. Within a year or two, “as the baby starts moving around, they take care of the problem on their own,” says Monica Wehby, M.D., a spokesperson for the American Association of Neurological Surgeons. She suggests rolling up a blanket and angling it under Baby’s shoulder and hip to alleviate pressure on the head. “Don’t prop the head or you’ll risk them suffocating themselves. If you’re concerned or it gets worse, mention it to your pediatrician.”

12 Know the signs. It’s estimated that one in 150 kids are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), a group of disorders that affect social behavior and communication skills. Most parents become concerned when Baby is between 15 and 18 months. Although how the disorder presents itself varies, you may want to talk to your doctor if Baby ignores your efforts to draw her attention, seldom makes eye contact and hasn’t begun babbling after 9 months. If Baby has ASD, she may play differently, too. Kids with ASD often lack creativity, engage in repetitive play and develop attachments to common objects, like string, sticks and rocks, rather than store-bought toys.

13 Follow safe swim rules. After age 1, the primary cause of death for kids is injury. In the past five years, there were, on average, 2,200 children younger than 5 years old treated in emergency rooms for swimming pool-related injuries. “The No. 1 rule is that you never leave a child unattended around a swimming pool,” says Larry Baraff, M.D., professor of pediatrics and emergency medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. “You have to be paying attention. You can’t be having an intense conversation.”

14 Check your home. More than 90% of injury-related deaths in children under 1 happen at home, according to the CDC. A study published in Pediatrics found that moms reported a greater use of home safety practices than were actually in use. For example, smoke detectors were found in 97% of participants’ homes, but only about half were working. The AAP recommends the following tips to keep your home safe for Baby:
 
Tips
Make sure drapery and blind cords are out of Baby’s reach.
Be certain the smoke detectors work and that there is one in or near Baby’s bedroom.
Place plug protectors in any unused electrical outlets.
Keep all medicines, vitamins, toiletries and any other potentially poisonous substances in cabinets with child-resistant safety latches.

15 Get Baby vaccinated. The AAP issued new vaccination recommendations in 2007. The changes include giving Baby a hepatitis A vaccine at 1 year of age as a two-dose regimen. Each dose should be given at least six months apart. The AAP also recommends two doses of the varicella vaccine (for chickenpox) — the first given to children between 12 and 15 months and the second between 4 and 6 years.

My comments: I think all these are good an important. However, I the AAP, WHO, AAFP and UNICEF all recommened breastfeeding for 6 months and then gradually offering supplemental foods starting at 6 months.

I would also add that there are many benefits to eating organic foods. Young children consume a great amount of pesticides from foods and this could lead to other health issues. Eating organic foods is much healthier.

I know #15 (vaccinating baby) is being debated by many parents. I believe that parents should do the research and decide what is best for their family. Dr. Sear’s “The Vaccine Book” has been very helpful in our decisions about vaccinating our children.

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Nursing is more than breastfeeding

I thought this was a great little article at SAFbaby.

Breastfeeding isn’t only about providing mother’s milk. While seldom recognized in literature, doctors’ advice or common conversation, there’s a whole lot more to breastfeeding than nutrition and immunity, and some of this can be achieved during bottlefeeding as well.

Breastfeeding has taken quite a bashing over the last century. In order to rebuild acceptance of breastfeeding, breastfeeding advocates have focused on the importance its nutritive and immune support roles. But breastfeeding is designed to be much more than just providing food — it is a time for nursing, a time for comfort and nurturing. This is a time for studying and memorizing each other’s faces, for speaking or singing to your baby and developing her trust and nonverbal communication.
Read more…

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More information surfaces on China formula recall

There are now 3 infant deaths, over 6,000 are sickened and 158 infants have accute kidney failure that are all known to be a direct relation to drinking the Chinese formula laced with Melamine. The melamine was added to the milk to give it the protein it was lacking.

Here is the most sad and shocking thing. The formula manufacturer, Sanlu, along with other government officials, knew about the tainted formula in early August, but delayed going public with the information as to not harm China’s image among the hype of the Olymipc Games in Beijing. For good reason, Sanlu’s chairwoman has been fired from the company and arrested.

Among the other offending companies are Beijing Olympics sponsor Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group and China’s biggest dairy producer, Mengniu Dairy, which plans to recall “unfit” products.

Excerpt:

The scare has rippled beyond China’s borders with the top quality watchdog saying two manufacturers were recalling milk powder exported to Yemen, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Gabon and Burundi. It was not clear whether those exports were contaminated. Hong Kong food inspectors ordered the recall of an ice cream bar made by Shanghai Yili AB foods because melamine had been found.

and another:

The escalating scandal is an embarrassing failure for China’s product safety system, overhauled last year to restore consumer confidence and preserve exports markets after a string of warnings and recalls involving tainted toothpaste, faulty tyres and pet food laced with melamine.

Really? You think this is embarrassing for China? It’s a tragedy. These officials put China’s “image” ahead of human lives. Now 3 infants are dead, 158 have acute kidney failure and over 6,000 others are sick because of their decision. I am willing to bet they are regretting not going public sooner. It may have at least prevented some of these illnesses.

This really sickens me. While breastfeeding is the best for nearly all infants, there are medical reasons why some infants can’t take breastmilk or mother’s can’t offer it. These babies certainly deserve much better than this. After trying to avoid China-made products, toys in particular, I am going to have to go on an all-out ban until they get their sh– together.

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