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. 

Nursing with teeth

8.5mom

Jack got his first tooth a few weeks ago (a front bottom one) and it’s been growing in really slowly. That’s fine with me since I’m so scared of getting bitten while breastfeeding! He clamped down several times before when he had no teeth and that already hurt, so I’m not looking forward to it happening with teeth.

The good thing about his bottom tooth coming in first is that while he nurses his tongue covers his bottom teeth, so I don’t feel anything sharp while he’s actively eating. He is growing in his top two teeth now (I can see them under the skin) and has bitten me a little three times in the last few days, and it’s scary to have a little pointy thing pressing onto your nipple! Luckily he didn’t bit down too hard, so I was able to do what the pediatrician said and stop feeding him and try to avoid eye contact or positive reinforcement for a little while so he learns nothing good happens from biting.

It’s sad because now I’m really nervous while he is breastfeeding during the day, and I watch his mouth like a hawk to try to tell is he’s going to stop eating and get bored and bite. At night it seems fine luckily. He also bit once when I offered him my breast but he wasn’t hungry, so I’m trying to be better about only offering if it’s been a while or he definitely seems hungry. I’m worried he won’t eat enough, but since he’s at the 50% percentile for weight I think he is getting enough food and hopefully can make up for it at the next feeding if I’m a little late in offering him my breast.

I’m not looking forward to feeling his little top teeth when those grow in though. Hopefully I won’t have the same experience as my friend who said her baby bit down and wouldn’t let go!

So to summarize what I do to avoid bites:

  • Remove my breast when it seems like he’s done eating
  • Don’t offer him my breast all the time
  • Keep my finger near his mouth so I can unlatch him quickly if he bites
  • If he bites, unlatch him and put him down and avoid any reinforcement (no eye contact, cuddles, talking) for a few minutes

Elimination diet

5.31crop

Since Jack was a few months old I’ve been cutting things out of my diet because of possible allergies. For the last few weeks that’s included the 8 causes of 90% of infant allergies:

  • Dairy
  • Soy
  • Eggs
  • Wheat
  • Fish
  • Shellfish
  • Peanuts
  • Tree Nuts

Also, for the last 2 weeks I’ve tried cutting out corn as well!

I’ve been eating a lot of rice and potatoes! As well as fruits and vegetables of course. It’s extra hard because I was already a vegetarian (who ate fish). To get omega-3s, I’ve been putting ground flax seeds in baked goods and eating seaweed mixed in with my leafy greens. I’ve also been eating Trader Joe’s calcium chews which are really good.

Some dishes I’ve been eating include:

  • Butternut squash soup (puree roasted squash, a few potatoes, vegetable broth, and garlic)
  • Tomato soup (Puree peeled tomatoes, coconut milk, spices, and broth)
  • Vegetables with rice
  • Vegetables with potatoes

Snacks:

  • Baked sweet potato fries
  • Frozen french fries with ketchup or mustard
  • Oatmeal
  • Oatmeal muffins
  • Oat pancakes
  • Coconut chips from Trader Joe’s
  • Potato chips (sometimes dipped in nutritional yeast)
  • Potato balls
  • Tapioca pudding
  • Coconut yogurt from whole foods
  • Olives
  • Guacamole and veggies
  • Fried rice cakes using “flax egg” to hold it together
  • Coconut milk ice cream from whole foods (really good!)
  • Dried fruit as a snack
  • Banana and frozen fruit smoothie in coconut milk
  • Chocolate/chocolate sauce

In general, here are replacements I’ve used:

  • Instead of butter for baking: coconut oil (coconut is a seed, not a tree nut)
  • Instead of flour: oats ground in the food processor
  • Baking chocolate or cacao nibs instead of chocolate
  • Sunbutter instead of peanut butter
  • Coconut milk instead of milk or cream (watch out for using too many American-grown rice products like rice milk due to arsenic)
  • A “flax egg” instead of eggs in baked goods (mix 1 tablespoon flax and 1 tablespoon water and let it sit a few min)
  • I’ve eaten the oatmeal muffins instead of granola bars or as a snack I can eat in the car