Saturday, January 30, 2010

Precocious Puberty

Precocious Puberty: is an unusually early onset of puberty, the process of sexual maturation triggered by the brain or exogenous chemicals, which usually begins in late childhood and results in reproductive maturity and completion of growth. Early puberty may be a variation of normal development, or may be a result of a disease or abnormal hormone exposure.
In some contexts, the term "precocious puberty" is used more broadly to describe the early appearance of any of the physical features of puberty, even if the complete brain-directed process is not occurring.  ~ Wikipedia

Signs of precocious puberty (before 7 or 8 years of age):
-breast development
-pubic or underarm hair development
-rapid height growth - a growth "spurt"
-onset of menstration
-"mature" body odor

During the summer vacation of 1991 I developed breasts. I was eight years old wearing a 34-C size bra. The emotional burden of having breasts in the third grade was challenging.Not to mention the body odor that soon followed. Needless to say I was teased relentlessly at school for my early development.

A few days ago while bathing my 6 year old daughter I noticed slight hair growth on her underarm. This got me thinking. Will she pass through early puberty just like I did? She is now in the first grade, I was in the third.
Because of when a child makes birthday it depends on how they will fall into class in school. I was born in January so I "lost" a year. My daughter was born in August so she gains a year, she is the youngest in her class. How will this affect her in her daily life?

She does know that someday she will develop breasts and she will get her menstruation. I never hid the bodily functions from my children. We are always open with them and the developing process of their bodies. I was just hoping that it wouldn't be this soon.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Babies expense

Babies are a joy. They are gifts given to  us. We cherish them and raise them with love.

Babies are also big business. There is a lot of "stuff" out there that is just so cute and gives us the baby feeling. We start to see the big picture and how the nursery would look. Start imagining all the little baby things laying around the house. Soon all that baby stuff needs a house of it's own.

And this is how companies want for us to feel. They want to make you feel that you really need every baby gadget that is out there. The crib, stroller, bouncy chair, swing, play mat, play yard and more.

But if you co-sleep you can scratch the crib off the list (unless you want to have the crib in your room). Get a good baby sling or wrap and there goes the need to have the stroller, bouncy chair, swing, etc. Use cloth diapers and cut the cost of disposable diapers too.

My mother told me when I was pregnant with my first child: Babies are expensive. Well I automatically told her they are as expensive as you make them to be. She also asked me how I was going to get everything that a baby needs. I asked her what do babies need. They need love and nourishment and from this they will thrive. To nourish my baby I breastfed her.

Now my mother never breastfed me or my sister. My family has issues with breastfeeding. I am on my third child and still they don't understand the long term benefit. I openly encourage mothers not to be afraid to breastfeed in public. Now I am not comfortable to breastfeed in my own home. I retreat each meal time to the privacy of my bedroom. At my in-laws I am more open and breastfeed anywhere in the home. This is the difference of support.

Regardless of the criticism we co-sleep, sling our baby and breastfeed full term. These "Attachment Parenting" and "Peaceful Parenting" choices we make also end up showing us that those hip and new baby items that most moms express a passion of want for is not necessary for us and our baby and children to be happy. They would have been an extra expense and extra junk just lying around the house not being used.

Babies don't need these things to entertain them for them to be happy, for them to thrive. They don't know that these things are designed for them. Babies are born to recognize faces, your face. They look forward to your interaction with them and your warmth.

Give your baby the best you can. This doesn't mean that you have to spend a lot or have a lot to give the best.
Your baby will love you regardless of all the extra "stuff". You are the best stimulation or toy you could ever give your baby.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Cross-nursing and wet-nursing

Wet-nursing: the complete nursing of another's infant, often for pay.

Cross-nursing: the occasional nursing of another's infant while the mother continues to nurse her own child, often in a child care situation.

My first son was six weeks old when my sister-in-law had her baby girl. We were fortunate to be able to depend on each other for baby support and advice. One afternoon she was unable to feed her daughter and she did not have a stock of milk put away. So I decided to nurse my niece. After all they were just six weeks apart in age and she was only three months old at the time. These situations are rare, but they do exist. I cross-nursed for the first time.

When I returned to work after my second son was born, he refused to take the bottle, regardless if it was my own milk in it. For some reason beyond my comprehension he would take the bottle only from me. And this is when my sister-in-law returned the favor. She nursed him. She was breastfeeding her ten month old and my two month old for one whole day.

Cross-nursing is not something to be taken lightly. There is the hazard for infection for mother and baby. The mother who is cross-nursing may experience a reduced milk supply for her own baby. Babies of different ages need a specific composition of milk. Cross-nursing can also affect a baby psychologically. A difference in the let-down, either in the timing or the forcefulness, can confuse and frustrate an infant. In many cases, a baby will refuse to nurse from a cross-nursing mother/ child care provider, especially if the baby is four months or older.

In our family we do not only have cousins growing up together, we also have milk siblings.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Tandem nursing; my experience

Breastfeeding is still considered taboo most places you go. Just walk up to people and ask what they think about breastfeeding and you'll get a range of answers, from supportive to disgusted. So imagine what response is triggered in people when they see, or hear about, you nursing your toddler along with your new baby, at the same time! The shock, the horror! Who would do such a thing! Okay, okay being just a little melodramatic here. But in truth this is the response I got from all around me.

My daughter was just over a year old when we found out the good news, I was pregnant and the first trimester was already over! I so missed the cues on that one! I really had no idea I was pregnant. Truthfully I blamed all the little discomforts I did get on the flu, who would have thought. It was my husband who made the connection and encouraged me to take a pregnancy test.

Because the first trimester had already passed, the "danger" of miscarriage wasn't relevant anymore. So when I was advised by my health care provider to stop breastfeeding I found it absolutely ridiculous. He even told me that there would not be any milk production for my daughter, so I have to ween her before the pregnancy advances any further. That's a PHD for you. And I'm suppose to take advice from you to keep myself healthy? Needless to say he is no longer my doctor.

It is possible to continue to produce milk for your first child while pregnant with your second (or which ever order you are in). And it is physically possible to breastfeed your newborn and toddler at the same time. The trick is to the feeding part. The latching on and handling of the the older child, it takes some practice and patience.

Don't get the wrong idea here. By the time my son was born my daughter was 2 months shy of her second birthday. And so she was nursing only at specific times a day. In the morning, before nap time, afternoon snack and before bedtime. These would be the shared nursing: tandem nursing.

I enjoyed nursing them together. She would always play with his hands or caress him on his head. This was their time, special bonding. I avoided jealousy by telling my daughter that the baby was her baby, her brother, and that she should be glad to help the baby learn how to nurse (aka: drink titi). 

She was , and still is, a little mommy. Her "job" was to get the pamper and wipes at changing time, then to throw away the soiled one. When my son was old enough they would share bath time, yet another bonding opportunity.

When my son was about 6 months old I started to dread the tandem nursing, I was getting "tired" of my daughter. This is normal, and some moms do feel "tired" after a certain point. This doesn't mean that I was not loving her anymore, was just tired. So after discussing my feelings with my husband we decided to slowly ween her. And this was the breaking point for us.

It was gentile suggestion for months. But she was already starting to self ween at this point. She was coming on to her third birthday. After the successful weening of my daughter my son soon after weened himself from the breast. I did not give it a second thought. I did not think that my daughter weening from the breast would impact my son so profoundly that he would ween soon after. He weened just after his first birthday.

At the time I was feeling tired and did not look for the support and encouragement needed for me to push through and continue nursing. Now with my second son at five months old I look back and realize the impact tandem nursing has on siblings. It helps them create a deep and profound bond. And it is possible that if one weens the other will soon ween short after. I guess he missed his sister and felt he didn't need more from me.

So if your pregnant and still nursing your toddler and are healthy, go ahead and continue to nurse to your hearts content.

It takes just a little bit of you to make a big impact on your children.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Breastfeeding demonstration (mother support group)

In pregnancy you may or may not give breastfeeding a serious thought. After all it is "natural" to breastfeed, right? This would mean that you may just lightly pass over any information available on how to breastfeed. And even if you are going to breastfeed exclusively there still is a piece missing. The books describe the latch on very accurately. But the illustrations are small and lack depth.

And this is what I did. I read all the books and any information on the internet I could get my hands on. So after my baby was born and I was ready to give her her first meal I did it "text book".
It was uncomfortable!
You see I am of petite stature with a large bust and short arms. The description of the perfect posture for correct latch was not working for me. And I knew that as long as it was hurting that the latch was not good.

So I did what my baby and body was telling me; I improvised the positions. And it was wonderful! The experience that I was missing out on, and what a lot of moms are also, is mimicking behavior. Seeing and learning from experienced moms.

At our monthly mothers support group when I was asked to demonstrate a correct latch on I was happy to demonstrate. Again seeing is learning. So I latched my 5 month old to my breast and he gladly demonstrated a correct latch on. Thanks to one of the board members who politely explained to all the moms who were in attendance. She let them get a once in a life time close up view of a baby nursing. They were inspired, as should be. To see a baby up close happily nursing from his mothers breast.

Don't restrict breastfeeding to the house, bedroom, car, etc. Breastfeed proudly in public and teach the new generation of mothers how it's done! Give them the opportunity to learn. Latch that precious baby to your breast and let him teach correct latch on.

Best food

As I was searching for a rad Breastfeeding Icon I came across this and thought I would share. Love the use of utensils to show that this is the nutrition for our baby's. It is their food.

pictures courtesy of Google search

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Thumb sucking VS Pacifier? Which is more damaging to a childs teeth?

pictures courtesy of google search

Thumb sucking:

Thumb sucking is a behavior found in humans, chimpanzees and other primates. It usually involves placing the thumb into the mouth and rhythmically repeating sucking contact for a prolonged duration. It can also be accomplished with any piece of skin within reach (such as a big toe) and is considered to be soothing and therapeutic for the person.

At birth, a baby will reflexively suck any object placed in its mouth; this is the sucking reflex responsible for breastfeeding. This reflex disappears at about four months of age; thumb sucking is not purely an instinctive behavior and therefore can last much longer. Moreover, ultrasound scans have revealed that thumb sucking can start before birth, as early as 15 weeks from conception; whether this behavior is voluntary or due to random movements of the fetus in the womb is not conclusively known.

Thumb-sucking isn't "bad" for the teeth, but prolonged thumb-sucking may cause problems with your child's dental health, including the proper growth and development of your child's mouth.

Sucking is an infant's natural reflex. Infants and young children suck their thumbs or fingers to help them feel secure and happy, and since it is relaxing, it also helps induce sleep.

Prolonged thumb-sucking can cause "open bites" that require extensive orthodontic treatment to straighten out. It may also make the front teeth protrude, which make the teeth more susceptible to injury.

To help your child stop this habit, it is best to use positive reinforcement, including offering praise for not sucking their thumb. If your child sucks her thumb when she feels insecure, identify the cause of the anxiety and comfort your child.

When you decide it's time to stop thumb-sucking (and it's best to try to break the habit before the permanent teeth come in, usually around age 6), talk to your child and create an action plan to break the habit. Pick a stop-date, use a chart or calendar to track her progress every day, and offer appropriate rewards.

Most thumb-suckers stop gradually by the time they are five years old. Nevertheless, many older children will retain the habit, some into adulthood. Thumb sucking in adults may be due to stereotypic movement disorder, another psychiatric disorder, or simply habit continuation where the adult thumb sucker can avoid the social implications by indulging stealthfully or by ignoring any outside reaction.

Pacifier use:

For fussy babies, a pacifier can calm and soothe. However, dental experts warn that once a child reaches the preschool years, a pacifier can become a habit that impedes the development of healthy teeth.

If a child continues using a pacifier past the age of 3, serious dental malformation can occur, says Al Tonn, DDS, Delta Dental's pediatric dentist consultant. The most common malformation is an open space in the front teeth or an overbite in which the upper teeth protrude.

"Unlike sucking the thumb, using a pacifier is a learned response, so it's a little easier to unlearn the habit," says Dr. Tonn, who has had a pediatric dentistry practice in Manteca for 45 years.

Researchers say that many prolonged pacifier users become prolonged thumb-suckers after the pacifier is taken away, adding to a child's risk of adversely modifying the teeth's natural position.

In addition to moving and shifting teeth, the Academy of General Dentistry reports that pacifier users are more likely to suffer from acute middle ear infections.

At the very least, children who use pacifiers past their toddler years may eventually need braces, and that alone should alert parents to the potential for dental problems and expense.

Both thumb sucking and pacifier use can be damaging to a child's permanent teeth if done for a prolonged period. The trick is for the child to out-grow the "need" to suck. So moms and dads rest assured that the advice given to you to offer your thumb-sucking baby a pacifier to break the habit is not entirely correct. On the other hand moms and dads of those babies who use a pacifier rest assured that as a toddler is alright for child to use a pacifier.

Thumb or pacifier always each families individual choice for their baby.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Food coloring and ADHD

pictures courtesy of google search
When it comes to food we live in a colorful world. But what if those dyes changed your child's behavior? Southampton University in England has found a link to food dyes and hyperactive behavior in children. The research does not prove that food colorings actually cause ADHD behaviors but there does seem to be a link. The results were published in The Lancet medical journal in September of 2007.

Susan Jebb, nutrition scientist at Britain’s Medical Research Council, stated, "Such additives are most likely to be found in foods that we would like to see children eating less of – i.e. soft drinks, confectionery and so on – and so it reiterates the general healthy eating messages of encouraging healthier food choices."

While there are many suspected causes for ADHD behaviors, some are easy to eliminate.

  • Eliminate foods with large quantities of dyes.
  • Reduce or eliminate sugary drinks.
  • Plan a consistent routine in the home.
  • Snack on whole foods as found in nature instead of packaged snacks.
  • Look for allergens in the home and see if eliminating them helps.
Another component to ADHD behaviors is structure. School schedules and all the after school participation can raise havoc with home structure. It is difficult to find a home with a consistent suppertime. Schedules are disrupted with
  • Before school practices
  • Scouts
  • Band trips
  • Piano lessons
  • Dance lessons
  • After school practices
  • Ball games
  • Church activities

Routines and consistent schedules make life more predicable for an ADHD child. A child with hyperactive tendencies is easily set off by disruptions in a schedule. Try and build routine into the before and after school schedules at home.

Biological Nurturing

pictures courtesy of google search

The first time your baby is put to your breast and latches on for his first feed is an emotional moment. Sometimes it can take some work. You have those little arms and legs to deal with. And don't forget the "bobbing" and "routing" reflex. It could be daunting to some new mothers. Here is a video describing "Biological Nurturing". It is basically positions you can adapt to help with the latch-on and the breastfeeding relationship. Enjoy the video.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Can I breastfeed my adopited baby?

pictures courtesy of google search

The answer is Yes! Adoptive breastfeeding is possible with good planning and preparation. More and more frequently mothers planning on baby adoption consider this option. To try and establish attachment. This is a personal choice.

There are many ways to prepare to breast feed you adoptive baby. Some mothers start to pump months before their baby's birth to elevate hormonal levels that support milk production. Use of a hospital-grade electric pump is recommended. Pumping frequently ( six to eight times in a 24 hour period) milk production may become evident. Even before infant suckling is initiated. This does not occur universally however. Some mothers do not establish any milk production until they are able to have the stimulation of their baby suckling on the breast.

Once your baby is available to be placed at your breast, you can begin nursing. This is assisted with a supplemental device that is taped to your breast. The devices that are used include the Lact-Aid and the Supplemental Nursing System. Both consist of a silicone tube attached to a milk reservoir. The reservoir is filled with banked human milk (or formula) and sealed. The silicone tube is taped to your breast so the tip of the tube extends about 1/8th inch past your nipple. The tube will be against the breast and milked by the tongue while your baby suckles.

There are some differences between the two devices. The Lact-Aid's milk reservoir is a sterile plastic bag. It's a closed system which collapses as milk is withdrawn. It also works against gravity, which probably increases breast stimulation. The plastic-bag feature makes clean-up easier but assembly more difficult. It is also discrete if worn under clothing while nursing in public. The Supplemental Nursing System has a plastic-bottle reservoir that is easier to fill. You can stand it on the counter and pour the milk in.

Using a tube device on the breast may distract you from proper latch-on technique. It's best to let the tape hold the tube in place and focus on getting a proper latch for optimal stimulation.

Some mothers use medical assistance to establish a milk supply. Metoclopramide and Oxytocin are regularly used.

Studies done on the use of metoclopramide are primarily based on birth mothers with supply problems. But case reports of adoptive mothers' use of this drug is also available. The studies found that the increase of milk production was related to the amount of medication taken. Doses up to 15mg three times a day were used. Mothers are weaned off the drug in a time frame of a few weeks. Use is not recommended for more than four weeks. Unfortunately, many mothers experience a drop in their milk supply when metoclopramide was eliminated.
Oxytocin is prescribed to assist milk flow. Other mothers use herbs including: fenugreek, aniseed, black elder, blessed thistle, caraway, fennel, vervain or vitex. Always consult your doctor before taking medicines or herbs.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Pregnancy as a fashion statement?

pictures courtesy of google search

As I was scanning the television one lonely night I passed Lifetime network. Just then a commercial for a new show was on air. The show is about these teenage friends that aspire a pact to become pregnant together: The Pregnancy Pact. My reaction as a young mother myself was of total shock! The show is yet to air, and I will watch it attentively to further inform myself about why young girls would want to make such a decision. Apparently it is based on a true story.

I must say this and a comment from one of my friends got me thinking. Do young girls sometimes think it "cool" or "fashionable" to be pregnant? Or is it "in style" to be a young mother? I am not saying that teenage pregnancy is a bad thing. Some teenage mothers do miracles and achieve so much, as another friend of mine can surely show. I do not know or would I ever be able to comprehend under what circumstance a young girl fell pregnant and why she found herself in the situation of having to face motherhood at a young age.

It is common here, in Aruba, to find young mothers, for whatever reason. Some mothers have a good relationship with the father of their child, others find someone else later in life and still others face motherhood alone. These are facts not fiction. And it is not hidden in our culture. Each teenager knows someone how is pregnant or had a baby. And the hardship that each young mother goes through with trying to raise a child and finish school and probably working part time. And yet still girls are careless, not excluding the guys here.

What is it that drives them not to use protection and be more careful? Don't they understand the consequence of having kids? You are no longer able to go out to that late party you wanted if you don't have a babysitter. You can't pay for a babysitter if you have no money. Don't take me wrong; having children is a blessing and should not be taken lightly. But unfortunately young people fall pregnant and mom and dad are the ones who step in to help with baby.

But again I question: is this why teenage pregnancy is taken lightly, because mom and dad help out? Is this fashionable or an epidemic? Not to mention that sex education is everywhere! Or is it part of the problem?

Friday, January 8, 2010

Family values

We study. We work. We have hobbies.
We as individuals want to achieve all we can "for the sake of our kids". But do we?

The regular working day is 8 hours, with 5 days a week and if your lucky 2 days off. We work because we have bills to pay and things we need to buy. We work because we must. It is almost unlikely that a family would be able to survive if there is only one "bread winner". So it is common to find both parents are working parents. Pursuing each his/her own career.

Most of the population works shifts. They work nights and unstable hours. They send the kids off to school only to try and sleep for the next shift. This means that these parents depend on cooperation in raring their children. They would need a helping hand in carrying/picking the kids to/from school, helping with home work and more. How and who could help in these situations? Some families live far from each other that help from grandparents is not an option. These parents must depend and trust on help from child care givers. Or good understanding friends.

At one point or another we put our jobs first. We break promises with our kids for the benefit of our boss. We do this with the notion that "my kids will forgive me", never wanting nor willing to disappoint our boss. We at one point or another belittle the value of our family for the sake of our job.

Jobs come and go. Family will forever be. You can always find another job with co-workers and bosses and responsibilities. But where can you find a group of people who love you even when they are mad at you? Where can you find a group of people who don't mind sharing the last piece of their favorite dessert with you? Where can you find a group of people who love and support you no matter what? Try finding a job with these qualities. I bet they would all be working from home or just plain stay at home jobs.

Family values are more than just what you think of each other. Or which parenting style you have. It is the daily decisions that affect each aspect of each family members life. Next time your boss asks you to work late or weekends tell him next time. Spend time and enjoy your family, these are the times you can never get back.

pictures courtesy of google search

Monday, January 4, 2010

Nutricious or not?

As is common practice in the USA so is here on our little island of Aruba. We tend to go along with the "trend", and drift towards what is going on there. Now even though we are considered part of the Dutch Kingdom that is.

This is true even when it is when to start solids and which solids to introduce. We (mothers in general) are advised, by our local Yellow Cross and Pediatricians, to start our baby's at around 6 months of age (as is every where else by WHO (World Health Organization)) with solids. Now this does not automatically mean that when baby is 6 months that he is ready for solids. This is a guideline. Even though I do hear the stories of "I started my 2 month old on rice cereal" or "I put just a scoop of cereal in the bottle so that baby would sleep the whole night". I find these negligent comments so horrific! I usually would listen attentively and then excuse myself with all my restraint just not to make a comment to the poor mother that I would eventually feel sorry for. I am defensive when it comes to baby and the correct nutrition. My mom-in-law can stand testimony to that! But okay back to the topic at hand.

I was reading an article from Pediatric News and it made some sense. Even though I must say that I don't fully agree with all that is stated below. A babies main source of nutrition is breast milk and/or formula during his first year of life.

Rice Cereal Can Wait, Let Them Eat Meat First: AAP committee has changes in mind

There is no good reason not to introduce meats, vegetables, and fruits as the first complementary foods, according to Dr. Frank R. Greer, a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics's Committee on Nutrition.

Introducing these foods early and often promotes healthy eating habits and preferences for these naturally nutrient-rich foods, said Dr. Greer, who is a professor of pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

Rice cereal has traditionally been the first complementary food given to American infants, but “Complementary foods introduced to infants should be based on their nutrient requirements and the nutrient density of foods, not on traditional practices that have no scientific basis,” Dr. Greer said in an interview.

In fact, the AAP's Committee on Nutrition is working on a statement that will include these new ideas, Dr. Greer said in an interview. Currently, there are no official AAP recommendations for introduction of complementary foods. “There are suggestions of what complementary foods to introduce in various AAP-sponsored publications, which are based on the traditional introduction of solid foods starting with infant iron-fortified cereals and progressing through vegetables and then fruits.”

Complementary foods are any nutrient-containing solid or liquid foods other than breast milk or formula given to infants, excluding vitamin and mineral supplements. By 6 months of age, human milk becomes insufficient to meet the requirements of an infant for energy, protein, iron, zinc, and some fat-soluble vitamins (J. Pediatr. Gastroenterol. Nutr. 2008;46:99–110).

Rice cereal has been the first complementary food given to infants in the United States for many reasons, including cultural tradition. By the 1960s, most U.S. infants (70%–80%) were fed cereal by 1 month of age. By 1980, rice cereal predominated, as it was considered to be well tolerated and “hypoallergenic”—given growing concerns about food allergies, he said. (See box.)

However, newer thinking is that the emphasis for complementary foods should be on naturally nutrient-rich foods. This includes protein and fiber, along with vitamins A, C, D, and E and the B vitamins. In addition, saturated and trans fats should be limited, as should sugar, said Dr. Greer.

In light of this thinking, rice cereal is a less than perfect choice for the first complementary food given to infants, he said. Rice cereal is low in protein and high in carbohydrates. It is often mixed with varying amounts of breast milk or formula. Although most brands of formula now have added iron, zinc, and vitamins, iron is poorly absorbed—only about 7.8% of intake is incorporated into red blood cells.

In contrast, meat is a rich source of iron, zinc, and arachidonic acid. Consumption of meat, fish, or poultry provides iron in the form of heme and promotes absorption of nonheme iron, noted Dr. Greer. Red meat and dark poultry meat have the greatest concentration of heme iron. Heme iron is absorbed intact into intestinal mucosal cells and is not affected by inhibitors of nonheme iron from the intestinal tract. Iron salts present in infant cereal are generally insoluble and poorly absorbed.

Another issue is when to begin introducing complementary foods, said Dr. Greer. This varies by nationality. In Germany for example, complementary foods are introduced to 16% of infants by 3 months. A third (34%) of infants in Italy and half (51%) of infants in the United Kingdom are introduced to complementary foods by 4 months. In the United States, 18% of infants are introduced to complementary foods—cereal—by 3 months, 40% by 4 months, 71% by 5 months, and 81% by 6 months.

Those complementary food choices for infants aren't always the most nutritious either. By 6 months, roughly a third of U.S. infants have been introduced to fruit (71%) and vegetables (73%), but only 21% have been introduced to meat. In a 2008 study in Pediatrics, researchers reported that 15% of infants have less than one serving of fruit or vegetable per day by 8 months of age (Pediatrics 2008;122[suppl. 2]:S91–7). In contrast, half of 10-month-old infants had eaten at a fast food restaurant, 22% had eaten carryout food, and 28% had eaten restaurant or carryout food at least twice in the previous week.

Early experiences promote healthy eating patterns, said Dr. Greer. It's known that food flavors are transmitted to breast milk; infants whose mothers eat fruits and vegetables during lactation will have greater consumption of fruits and vegetables during childhood (Public Health Nutr. 2004;7:295–302). It's also been shown that infants are more accepting of food after repeated exposure (Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 2001;73:1080–5).

Dr. Greer reported that he has no relevant financial conflicts of interest.

Don't Avoid or Delay Introducing Allergenic Foods

Delaying or avoiding the introduction of allergenic foods during a critical window in the first year of life doesn't appear to prevent the development of food allergies and may even put children at increased risk, according to Dr. Greer.

There is a lack of evidence to support food allergen avoidance in infants, he said. Any benefits appear to be largely in the first 3–4 months of life, when exclusive breastfeeding is of the greatest benefit for prevention of atopic disease.

Oral tolerance is an antigen-driven process and depends on regular exposure to food antigens during a critical early window. Allergen avoidance may be unsuccessful or detrimental in allergy prevention in infants, he said. There is some evidence that continued breastfeeding during new food introduction is beneficial in preventing atopic disease.

In 2008, the AAP recommended that complementary foods should not be introduced before 4–6 months and noted that there is no indication that delayed introduction of certain foods, including allergenic foods such as wheat, fish, egg, and peanut-containing products, protects against atopic disease(Pediatrics 2008;121:183–91).

Likewise, the European Society for Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition (ESPGHAN) recommended in 2008 that complementary foods should be introduced between 17 and 26 weeks.

The group also recommended against the avoidance or late introduction of allergenic foods such as wheat, fish, egg, and peanut (J. Pediatr. Gastroenterol. Nutr. 2008;46:99–110).

Most allergic reactions to foods (90%) are due to eight food types: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy, and wheat. However, studies generally have not supported a protective effect for a maternal exclusionary diet during pregnancy; a diet excluding cow's milk, eggs, peanuts, and fish has not been found to protect against the development of atopic disease in infants.

Dietary food allergens, including peanuts, cow's milk protein, and egg, can be detected in breast milk. In the majority of studies, especially those with follow-up beyond 4 years of age, there is no convincing evidence that restricting the maternal diet results in long-term prevention of atopic disease in infants.


Now I myself started my daughter and son on rice cereal but soon moved on to veggies, fruits and meats. My daughter started to eat at 7 months and my son at 6. My nephew started to eat at 10 months and he eats everything! I found that after the first week I had no use in feeding them cereal. They could get better nutrition from other better foods. They ate what we ate and that was how simple it was. I would sometimes prepare a huge pot of fully packed food and store in small containers and freeze it. I would then have a back up for those lazy days or for when they would stay with my parents or my husbands parents. Planning ahead was not an inconvenience. It was a strategy on our behave to ensure that our children get the best that their growing bodies need. Breast milk, fresh veggies and fruit, fresh meat and fish and organic home made baby food were all provided by us to them.

Healthy eating habits are taught and learned from the parents example. And baby will let you know when he is ready to try some solid food, don't force the spoon into his mouth to entice him to start when he knows that his tiny body is not ready. Save your baby a lot of discomfort and yourself some stress and listen to his cues.