Update at 15 months

1.sleepy

Jack is 15 months old now, and just within the past week started walking all the time. It’s really mind-boggling and amazing to watch a baby learn a whole new skill like that. It took several weeks of him walking a step here and there before it just seemed to click one day. It was probably the how to walk DVDs we play him… just kidding!

For several weeks now Jack has been switching off and on between mostly 2 naps a day but sometimes just 1. He’s always tired for his morning nap 2-3 hours after waking up, but sometimes he just doesn’t fall asleep for the afternoon one. Then we have a tricky situation where he gets exhausted by an early time like 5pm and I don’t know whether to let him sleep or not. The other day he took a 10 minute nap after breastfeeding at 5, but then stayed awake until 9pm! So I think from now on I’ll try to keep any really late naps to 5 minutes and see how it goes.

Today for example Jack woke up at 7am and napped from 10-11:30. I tried to get him to nap again between 2:45-3:15 and he wouldn’t fall asleep while I walked him around in the carrier, so we skipped the afternoon nap. I took him to the park at 5 to keep him busy and now he’s passed out after breastfeeding at 6:30. Hopefully he’ll stay asleep all night!

Jack’s also been crying more lately and putting his fingers in his mouth so I think he’s getting a canine tooth. We always have a hard time deciding about giving tylenol (all the chemicals and possible side effects vs. don’t want our child to be in pain or never sleep) so I’ve been trying to limit it to once a night. The ingredients list is frightening though- I don’t know why medicine for children needs artificial colors and flavors…

Jack has also started (finally!) eating some more solids, but still not a lot compared to other kids. The things he likes are either puff type textures like cheerio-type things or these baked pea snacks, or mushy stuff in a spoon like egg salad and refried beans. I need to think of some more things to offer him though, maybe that will help him sleep more…

Chemicals found in baby cord blood

This study is a few years old, but I thought it was pretty interesting and appalling. The link has a summary of findings and link to a video which is pretty interesting.

They took umbilical cord blood from babies and found an average of 287 toxins and chemical pollutants per baby, many of which were carcinogens or endocrine disruptions. Many were also banned 30 years ago.

It’s a good reminder to be careful what products you buy for your body, home, and what food you eat.

Women especially are exposed to an average of 168 chemicals when using an average of twelve personal care products each day (men use about half that).

It can feel intimidating when so many things around us are toxic, but this motivates me to make more of an effort to buy organic foods (or cook at home if I can’t find pre-made organic things), limit Jack’s time with plastic toys, vacuum often to get rid of flame retardants in the dust at home, and keep breastfeeding to ensure Jack has a healthy immune system!

Luckily Jack is just as  happy playing with pesticide-free lemons as with plastic balls
Luckily Jack is just as happy playing with pesticide-free lemons as with plastic balls

Reaction to the Ohio breastfeeding study

The recent breastfeeding study comparing siblings within families is all over the news lately, and people are interpreting it as that there are no differences between breastfeeding and formula feeding babies. I know that some women can’t or don’t have the support to breastfeed, and everyone is entitled to their own decisions. However, while I’m not a medical doctor I have a doctoral research degree and just wanted to point out some issues with the study that are getting overlooked.

These are the variables they included:

Child’s Physical health:

  • body mass index (BMI)
  • obesity
  • asthma

Behavior:

  • hyperactivity
  • parental attachment
  • behavioral compliance

Academic achievement:

  • reading comprehension
  • vocabulary recognition
  • math ability
  • memory-based intelligence
  • scholastic competence (academic performance)

There are several other important variables which have been linked to formula feeding which they did NOT include such as:

  • Childhood leukemia
  • Diabetes
  • SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome)
  • Maternal breast cancer
  • Maternal ovarian cancer
  • Maternal diabetes

I think it’s great that people are doing research on breastfeeding and formula, but I hope this one article doesn’t convince people not to try hard to breastfeed (since it can be difficult at first) or for employers not to support new mothers because while it would be good if formula didn’t lead to obesity, I think your child getting cancer or dying of SIDS, or a mother dying of cancer are very important variables to leave out.

In summary: formula may not lead to more obesity or some academic or behavioral problems, but there is previous research showing it is related to leukemia, SIDS, and maternal cancers.