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About Dr. Tay Kennedy About Stephanie Grant

So many of you have been interested in what we do and what we know about infants. As a thank you, we wanted to a way to provide you with a place to get that kind of interesting and reliable information about your baby...so welcome to our "baby blog"!  Here, we will regularly post information we hope you'll find interesting on topics such as how your infant is developing, suggestions for how to handle new steps in their lives, and even fun little "tests" you can do at home to see whether they've mastered a particular milestone.

Feel free to share the site with your friends and to ask questions you might like to see some answers to appear on the website!

;If you are new to our research project and have an infant 3 months or younger or are expecting...or if you know another mom who fits that description, click here for information about participating in our study of nutrition and infant development!

February 8, 2010: More on Baby Foods

Here are some follow-up questions that have come up from our earlier blog on December 4, "Frequently Asked Questions About Introducing Solids."

Q: Are generic brand foods as good as name brands?

A: Our advice is to buy prepared baby food that you are sure is from a major US company. In the US, there is a lot a production quality control that goes into making baby food. Do avoid foods that come from China in particular. Also avoid buying your own vitamins from China.

Q: Is there any advantage to making our own baby food?

A: Cost is the major benefit here. If you do decide to make your own food, it is best to buy local produce or frozen foods. The longer foods are in transport or storage, the more they lose their nutritive value (organic or not). Foods start to lose nutritional value as soon as they are picked or harvested, so locally grown, fresh foods are best. The second best option is to buy frozen or canned fruits and vegetables from a major company that harvests and produces its food close to the farm. American sourced foods are always safer since we have stronger environmental laws. If you do decide to make your own baby foods, there are books and online resources you can use for recipes, storage techniques, etc. Do keep in mind that once your baby has been introduced to a wide variety of foods, by about 8 months you can begin getting creative with your recipes, even adding some seasonings like cinnamon (still no salt or sugar).

For more suggestions: http://www.umext.maine.edu/onlinepubs/htmpubs/4309.htm

Q: Should I try to buy foods that are advertised to have additional vitamins or supplements in them like iron or DHA?

A: Most additives are window dressing, however there are a couple of specific concerns you should be aware of. In particular, after 6 months breast milk does not have sufficient levels of iron and zinc. Babies should be able to get enough iron from adding solid foods to their diet. Zinc, however, is difficult to get in sufficient amounts this way since it isn't absorbed by the body very easily from grains. The best way for your baby to get zinc in her diet is by eating red meat. Though it’s common practice to introduce meat as one of your baby's last foods, some researchers in the field of infant nutrition now suggest using meat as an early baby food. In fact Dr. Nancy Krebs suggests that meat would be a better choice for first foods than cereals because of the importance of iron and zinc to infant brain development. We suggest that you be sure to include low fat red meat (beef and lamb) in your baby's diet several times a week for iron and particularly zinc.

In addition, DHA is a potentially important nutrient for infants (though part of the excitement is because it’s trendy).  You can make sure your baby is getting enough DHA by taking a daily supplement yourself and thereby "enriching" your breast milk. Do know that DHA may have the side effect of decreasing "stress," which all new moms can use. We recommend trying to buy a supplement made from bacteria and not fish oil. They are more expensive, but are less likely to be contaminated with ocean pollutants. Always feel free to ask the pharmacist for help in selecting vitamins for yourself.

Lastly, Vitamin D is potentially problematic, but most pediatricians will place babies on a daily vitamin that should take care of this. If your pediatrician hasn't done this by 6 months, talk to him or her about the idea at your next well-baby visit. Also, 15-20 minutes of a mostly naked sun bath is not a bad idea (no glass in the way of the sun) as another way for your baby to get vitamin D.



January 20, 2010: Post-Holiday Dieting

Now that the holidays are over and the New Year has started, lots of us begin to worry about our weight. While fad diets or crash diets are not a good idea, when you are breastfeeding (or any time at all, REALLY!) A slow weight loss of ½ lb a week or less is fine. This works out to two pounds a month and can be accomplished by cutting down slightly what you eat or exercising more. The trick is to eat slightly less and still feel satisfied, not hungry and grouchy.


Plan what you eat – particularly when you are nursing, you need regular meals and snacks. Make a list of daily snacks and post it on your fridge. That way when you are hungry and “looking” for something to eat you won’t be tempted to binge. Try to sit down and enjoy your meal, because you will be satisfied longer than eating while multi-tasking. Somehow, it doesn’t count as eating if you do it while watching TV or working in front of the computer – so later you want to eat again.


Choose snacks with strong flavors- Research has shown that foods with stronger flavors are more satisfying. For example dark chocolate is more satisfying than milk chocolate – so an evening snack of low fat milk and a dark chocolate square feels more satisfying for most than just milk by itself or hot chocolate. Baked chips with a spicier than usual salsa is another tip for punching up the flavor and salsa has fewer calories than melted cheese.


Slow down eating – It takes a while, almost 20 minutes, for your stomach to signal your brain that it is full. Drink a glass of water when you start preparing meals, this jump starts the 20 minute waiting period to communicate “fullness” from your stomach to your brain. Eat your meals out of smaller bowls and plates because it tricks eyes into thinking that you are eating more than you really are. The same size serving on a small plate looks bigger than one on a big plate. Use a salad fork to eat your meal because it requires you to take more bites and smaller bites. So this makes you eat slower and gives you time to feel full.


The other part of the weight loss equation is exercising more. You can incorporate your baby into your exercise routine. It is a great way to “play” with your baby and can also be a great bonding experience for you and your baby. Here are some exercise ideas for you and your baby:

  • Do crunches with your baby face up on your belly, but be sure to support the baby’s head with your hands. You can make funny faces at your baby to make it fun for them too.


  • Dance with your baby to different music that you and your baby enjoy.


  • Lay your baby on the floor with their back on a towel or mat and get into push-up position. Do a push up and when you go down rub your baby’s nose or make a funny face.


  • The “bouncing bridge” could be done by lying on your back, placing your baby on your stomach and lifting your buttocks into the air. This causes a bouncing effect for your baby.


  • Lie on your back, and hold your baby in your hands above your head. You can lift your baby into the air, like an airplane and make an airplane noise. You could also do this by standing up. This will be a great work out for your arms.


  • Take your baby for a walk in the stroller. You can go around the block at your house if the weather is nice or head to the mall and walk around with your baby. This is a great way for you to fit cardio into your day.



For more tips check out: Ten habits to healthy eating!



December 15, 2009: Holiday stress.

There's no place like home for holidays, but when you have an infant, thinking about either preparing for company or preparing for travel can be a bit of a stress. Now, ideally (and of course that hardly ever seems to match reality), when preparing for time with family, try to think ahead of how you can keep your baby on schedule and then stick to that plan. Also come up with ways before the big day hits of what to do if your baby is getting worn out from all the attention" (translation: passed around like a bag of potatoes and overwhelmed by the perfume your aunt has applied without understanding the concept that "less is more"). Keep a close eye on your baby and try to "steal" her back when you see her starting to get overwhelmed - then head off to a quiet room, or even the car if you can't find even a quiet corner in the house. Signs infants have had too much (outside of crying) are if they begin hiccupping or begin avoiding eye contact. That's basically their way of saying, "Maybe if I pretend you're not there you'll go away." If you're afraid relatives will criticize your escape, get them involved in the get-a-way. For instance, ask your sister-in-law whether she'd mind taking the baby into the bedroom and rocking her. Most people won't object to some quiet time for the baby if they are the one who gets to escape with them, and that's especially true if you throw in something else like "I think she'd really enjoy some one-on-one time with you away from all this distraction."  Not many people will be able to criticize that. Some may actually begin signing up to help.


Another tip - if you expect a specific criticism to come up from your oh-so-loving family, head it off. Two trusty tools of defense include 1) mentioning your doctor and 2) talking about how the topic at hand actually affects your baby (meaning, do they throw up, have bad diapers, wake up at night?). For instance, maybe your mother-in-law lets her disapproval of what you feed your baby (or don't feed your baby) known. Rather than trying to argue with her that 6 month olds really don't need turkey and dressing or that sweet potato pie is actually not the same as sweet potato baby food, shortly after you arrive, drop a comment about the issue. For instance, try something like how you're "so glad you took your doctor's advice about what to feed your baby" or about how you "really have to watch what you feed your baby since the last time you tried breaking the rules from your doctor, the diapers were just a disaster!" If people understand how breaking the routine effects your baby, they simply don't complain so much. They still many not agree that the routine itself is the way they would do it, but they're at least not as likely to push the boundaries you've already set. You can also insert little positive reinforcement comments. Telling your mother-in-law how glad you are to have in laws that support you in how you're raising your children is likely to make her think twice about contradicting you.





Now keep in mind, keeping your baby on her routine does not mean that you can expect everyone else to conform to lunch at 11 o'clock and a quiet nap time at 2 o'clock. It may not even mean that they'll wait on you to nurse before starting lunch. And also, some babies can handle routine "fudging" better than others. You're the one who will be able to tell how much that's true for your infant. Try to decide ahead of time what you're willing to let go. You're less likely to cave to the pressure from your mother that "it won't hurt him to stay up a bit later" if you've already thought through whether that really is true.


Remember that a lot of the stress your baby feels comes directly from what they're picking up from you, so regardless of what happens, focus on the positive things about the whole experience - like how great it is to see your father-in-law cuddled in the recliner with your son (you really can ignore the football game going on at the time). After all, those will be the Christmas memories you're likely to remember a few years from now anyway.


Merry Christmas!


December 4, 2009: Frequently Asked Questions about introducing solids such as When? What? and How? ("So Now You Actually WANT Me to Put Things In My Mouth?")

Each of you has done something wonderful for your baby by feeding them breast milk. Research has shown babies who are breastfed tend to be sick less often, have higher cognitive abilities as they grow up, lower rates of allergies, and a lower risk for obesity. As your baby nears the age of 6 months, new choices need to be made about introducing solid foods into your baby's diet - especially as there are so many choices available. To help, we have put together some answers to commonly asked questions about this new adventure for your baby. We always recommend you discuss specific questions related to your baby's health with your baby's pediatrician so that he or she can tailor the answer specifically for you.



Q: What should I expect when we start?


A: Keep in mind that this is a very new experience for your baby, especially right at first. We do recommend that even from the beginning you establish good eating habits for your baby, like sitting up and eating from a spoon instead of adding cereal to a bottle. Also try not to rush your baby as she eats. Let her explore and engage in the experience. Don't force her to eat anything and watch for her to signal that she doesn't want any more. Introduce foods after your baby has breastfed or taken a bottle (remember that milk is still the primary food for your baby during her first year of life) and when she's not too tired or cranky. You can allow the baby to explore a first food off of your finger, too, since that might be a little less foreign than adding a spoon into the mix.



At first, start off with foods that are almost liquids. You can add breastmilk or formula to achieve the desired consistency. Your baby will likely push it around with her tongue when you first introduce her to foods, in part because she's playing with both the new taste and texture. As she masters swallowing, you can begin to thicken up whatever it is she's eating.


When you introduce a new food, always wait at least four days before introducing another one so that you can watch for any sign of an allergic reaction. Regarding allergies, high allergen or risk foods such as peanut butter, wheat, soy, eggs, fish, and dairy do need to be introduced MUCH later. Consult your pediatrician on when such things can be added to your baby's diet.


Q: When should I start my baby on solid foods?


A: Remember that if you're eating a healthy diet and taking your prenatal vitamins, your breast milk will contain everything your baby needs until 6 months of age, so solids aren't necessary until then. In fact, the American Pediatric Association still recommends that solid foods be held off until your baby is 6 months old. This is particularly true if there is a history of allergies that run in your family. What you're watching for in your baby is for him to develop the ability to maintain head control and lose his tongue thrust. When babies are younger, that tongue thrust helps prevent them from swallowing something accidentally and choking. Once its gone, your baby is showing he is mature enough to swallow on his own.



Q: What if my baby doesn't like a food?


A: Most researchers don't think babies develop either an immediate love or dislike for a food the first time they eat it, so if your baby rejects a certain food, move on and come back to it later. If your baby seems to choke or have problems either keeping food in his mouth or swallowing, consider waiting until he's a little older to try again or think about changing the consistency of the food. And also, some of your baby's preferences for tastes will be related to what you ate during your pregnancy and while breastfeeding since tastes and smells of your foods are transferred to the baby both ways. And breastfed babies are much less likely to be picky eaters!


Q: Any tips for older siblings?


A: Keep up those healthy eating habits! Take time to eat, sit at the table, and avoid introducing "food on the go" as long as possible. Limit the sugars, snacks, and sodas, especially those with caffeine,  and encourage a healthy lifestyle by acting as an example yourself and by what you keep in the house to eat. You can even use family meals as a great teaching platform for things such as following directions (using a recipe), math skills (measuring ingredients or calculating serving sizes), creativity (making colorful food arrangements or faces on a pizza), chemistry (why baking powder is in a can or eggs are added to a recipe), along with basic skills like colors, counting, and the alphabet (Let's have a dinner where everything we eat starts with the letter A!). And don't forget the added benefit that young kids actually LIKE to wash dishes (just consider using something besides your nice China when you let them do so!) We highly recommend Ellyn Satter's "Division of Responsibility" for feeding babies, and older children too. Check out this story about first foods on her WEB site: https://ellynsatter.com/testimonials.jsp?category=success_stories








These are just a few ideas to help you lose weight in a healthy way while breastfeeding. These are also great ways for you to keep losing weight even after breastfeeding.