Posts Tagged ‘ baby health ’

Wow: This Mom Donated 38 GALLONS of Breast Milk!

Monday, July 13th, 2015

breastmilkTo say that Kelli Russell had an excess of breast milk after her second baby was born is a serious understatement. The North Carolina mom managed to fill both her indoor and outdoor freezers with bags of pumped milk. Russell knew her baby had more than he could ever need, but she was still producing plenty of breast milk, and hesitant about pumping and dumping. “I hate to pour the ‘liquid gold,’ as it’s termed, down the drain,” she told her local NBC affiliate. “But I hated to also just ditch it. I needed to figure out some way to be able utilize it.”

So Russell decided to donate whatever else she could produce to a milk bank in Raleigh. As any woman who has bent over a breast pump can tell you, it’s a true labor of love. Over the course of 14 months, this patient mama pumped every three hours— for more than 140 hours total—while also caring for her baby and toddler. In the end, she ended up donating an astonishing 4,880 ounces (or nearly 38 gallons) of breast milk.

Pretty incredible, right? But even more inspiring is how many babies can benefit from her generosity. Russell explained that just one ounce of milk can provide up to six feedings for a preemie and help prevent infections. Already, the donated milk is being used in more than 40 hospitals along the East Coast.

As a mom who grudgingly pumped every now and then, I’m blown away by Russell’s dedication and tenacity. I counted the days until I could say goodbye to the snaking tubes, hissing machine, and godawful suction. Meanwhile, she’s working overtime to squeeze out every last drop of breast milk to help babies she’ll never meet. Of course, the decision was a natural one for this professor of public health, who says her incredible donation is “one way that I feel like I’ve been able to give back to the community.”

I want to hear from you: Would you consider donating your breastmilk?

Bonnie Gibbs Vengrow is a New York City-based writer and editor who traded in her Blackberry and Metro card for playdates and PB&J sandwiches—and the once-in-a-lifetime chance to watch her feisty, funny son grow up. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+.

Store Breast Milk Safely
Store Breast Milk Safely
Store Breast Milk Safely

Image of breast pump courtesy of Shutterstock

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Could Your Baby’s Birth Month Predict Her Risk of Disease?!

Thursday, June 11th, 2015

babyWhen I found out my baby‘s expected birth date, I immediately thought of what kind of birthday parties he’d eventually have (indoor vs. outdoor) and whether he’d be among the oldest in his class. You know, all the important stuff. What I didn’t have access to—thankfully—was a brand-new chart that predicts the risk of future disease based on birth month and season.

Egads.

To create this so-called wheel of afflictions (my name, not theirs), researchers at Columbia University used an algorithm to examine medical records of some 1.7 million patients who were treated at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC). Ultimately, they were looking for—and found—a connection between specific diseases and conditions and when someone was born. The study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.

It’s important to note that researchers focused on 1,688 diseases and found a birth-month link in only 16 of them. Though babies born in May have the best chance of warding off lifetime diseases, their peers who arrived in March are at the highest risk for a slew of cardiac issues, including atrial fibrillation, congestive heart failure, and mitral valve disorder. (Sorry, son.) Meanwhile, early fall was linked to the highest number of diseases, including respiratory, reproductive, and neurological. (Check out the full chart here.) These findings jibe with ones from previous studies.

But as scary as that information is, researchers don’t want us parents to freak out. “It’s important not to get overly nervous about these results because even though we found significant associations, the overall disease risk is not that great,” Nicholas Tatonetti, Ph.D., an assistant professor of biomedical informatics at CUMC and creator of the chart, said in a statement. “The risk related to birth month is relatively minor when compared to more influential variables like diet and exercise.”

In other words, two things we can totally control.

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Bonnie Gibbs Vengrow is a New York City-based writer and editor who traded in her Blackberry and Metro card for playdates and PB&J sandwiches—and the once-in-a-lifetime chance to watch her feisty, funny son grow up. Follow her on Twitter Pinterest, and Google+.

Baby Care Basics: Surprising Reasons to Call the Doctor
Baby Care Basics: Surprising Reasons to Call the Doctor
Baby Care Basics: Surprising Reasons to Call the Doctor

Image of newborn courtesy of Shutterstock

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This Incredible First-Aid Video Has Saved Over 30 Babies!

Friday, April 3rd, 2015

The Pen That Lost His LidRemember this life-changing video from St. John Ambulance? St. John Ambulance put it together after surveying 4,000 parents and realizing that 4 out of 5 didn’t know how to save a choking baby.

Since the UK video’s successful social media campaign (7.7 million views and counting!), the lives of at least 36 babies have been saved, simply because an adult spent 40 seconds watching the video.

“When my baby son Jax started choking it was an especially scary moment … I’d seen the St John Ambulance advert a few days earlier, so I flipped my son over on to my leg and after the third back slap I gave him, he coughed,” shared Becca Hensman, a British mom, with Huffington Post UK. “If I hadn’t seen that advert I’m not quite sure how I’d have reacted but, thankfully, I had so I knew what to do straight away.”

To help save more lives, St. John has released a free digital picture book called “The Pen That Lost His Lid.” The same characters from the video (Pen, Princess, Peanut, and Jelly Baby) are back to teach parents and kids, ages 3-7, the proper techniques for dislodging a foreign object from baby’s throat. Learn more about the illustrated book at sja.org.uk/pen-lid.

Sherry Huang is a Features Editor for Parents.com. She loves collecting children’s picture books and has an undeniable love for cookies of all kinds. Her spirit animal would be Beyoncé Pad Thai. Follow her on Twitter @sherendipitea.

Screenshot of the book pages from The Pen That Lost His Lide

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A Paleo Diet…for Babies?!

Friday, March 13th, 2015

formula

My friend Mike is a big fan of the Paleo diet. He swears that by nixing all grains, dairy and pulses (a type of legume) from his meals, he can shed weight without much effort. As an old-school kind of girl who prefers the food pyramid over a fad diet, I’m more than a little skeptical.

So when I heard that Aussie celebrity chef Pete Evans was coming out with a Paleo diet cookbook for babies, I thought it was a joke. In fact, I was thisclose to looking it up on Snopes. Deny growing children essential nutrients and vitamins? On purpose?

Then I read about the recipes. Some call for runny (read: raw) eggs and added salt—two additions no person needs, much less young children. And one, the DIY baby formula, can even be downright deadly for babies, warn health officials in Australia. That’s because the formula—a foul-sounding concoction of liver and bone broth—contains more than 10 times the safe maximum intake of vitamin A and lacks other essential nutrients, reports Australian Women’s Weekly.

So concerned are Australian officials about putting babies on the restricted regimen that they’re delaying production of the cookbook, Bubba Yum Yum: The Paleo Way, while they investigate its claims. “In my view, there’s a very real possibility that a baby may die if this book goes ahead,” Professor Heather Yeatman, president of the Public Health Association of Australia, explained to The Weekly. ”Especially if [the DIY formula] was the only food a parent was feeding their infant, it’s a very real risk. And [I consider that] the baby’s growth and development could be impaired.”

To be fair, there are some selling points of the Paleo diet, says Satya D. Narisety, M.D.,a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Pediatric Allergy, Immunology and Infectious Diseases at Rutgers University. Chief among them, its emphasis on consuming lean meats, fish, fruits and veggies and avoiding processed foods and refined sugars. “However, there are some very big problems with the diet’s restriction of dairy, grains and legumes,” she told Parents.com. “Strict adherence to this diet would set an infant and young child up for deficiencies in essential macronutrients, such as carbohydrates, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B, and certain micronutrients. These deficiencies can lead to increased weakness, very poor growth, impaired cognitive development and rickets, among other devastating consequences.”

But unfortunately, it’s easy to see how parents could be fooled into thinking the fad diet is right for their kids. There are the scores of people—like my friend Mike—who sing its praises, plus there are myriad health benefits it supposedly offers. In the cookbook, Evans suggests that going dairy-, grains- and legume-free could help prevent everything from autism and birth defects to GI issues and asthma. Of course, in a classic CYA move, there’s also a disclaimer tucked away in there stating:”Although we in good faith believe that the information provided will help you live a healthier life, relying on the information contained in this publication may not give you the results you desire or may cause negative health consequences.”

Talk about mixed signals! Your best bet, experts say, is to bypass the fad diets and stick with what we know works: The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends babies under six months ingest only breast milk or formula. Meanwhile, older kiddos should have a healthy, balanced diet of whole grains, dairy, fruits, veggies, meats and legumes.

Bonnie Gibbs Vengrow is a New York City-based writer and editor who traded in her Blackberry and Metro card for playdates and PB&J sandwiches—and the once-in-a-lifetime chance to watch her feisty, funny son grow up. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+

How to Buy Baby Formula on a Budget
How to Buy Baby Formula on a Budget
How to Buy Baby Formula on a Budget

Image of baby drinking bottle courtesy of Shutterstock

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More Babies Born Addicted to Painkillers

Monday, March 9th, 2015

Baby in NICU incubatorA new report from the Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC) reveals a surprising fact: more babies are being born with neonatal abstinence syndrome, where they go through withdrawal from addictive painkillers (oxycodone, morphine, and hydrocodone) that their moms took during pregnancy.

Babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome often experience “severe symptoms…within the first two weeks of life” that include “seizures, fever, excessive crying, tremors, vomiting, and diarrhea,” says Jennifer Lind, the lead author of the report and a CDC epidemiologist. These symptoms of withdrawal can last anywhere from a few weeks up to a month.

In particular, the report focused on three Florida hospitals for the data. Doctors discovered that the number of U.S. babies born addicted to painkillers has tripled within the past two decades, but that Florida has the highest increase for a state (about 10 times more).

Recent data noted that 242 babies were born with neonatal abstinence syndrome from 2010-2011 in those three Florida hospitals, and that 99.6 percent of them were exposed to narcotics. The majority of their moms tested positive for drugs during pregnancy, but only 10 percent were offered drug counseling or rehabilitation, in spite of potential birth risks such as birth defects, premature birth, and low birth weight.

Most babies (4 out of 5) born with neonatal abstinence syndrome need difficult and extensive medical treatment, which can be expensive. But the good news is that babies who are treated have a high chance of recovery.

Sherry Huang is a Features Editor for Parents.com. She loves collecting children’s picture books and has an undeniable love for cookies of all kinds. Her spirit animal would be Beyoncé Pad Thai. Follow her on Twitter @sherendipitea.

Baby Care Basics: Concerns for Premature Babies
Baby Care Basics: Concerns for Premature Babies
Baby Care Basics: Concerns for Premature Babies

Photo of baby feed in an NICU incubator via Shutterstock

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