3 Reasons to Avoid Bottles at Bedtime

If your baby is being bottle-fed, it is tempting to give him a bottle of milk, formula, or juice and let him fall asleep while drinking it, but unfortunately, this is far from being a healthy habit! What could possibly be wrong with such an easy and soothing way to fall asleep?


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Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

When babies fall asleep sucking on a bottle of milk or juice, the liquid tends to pool in baby’s mouth, as swallowing and saliva production decrease. Then the sugars in the mouth are converted to acids, which wear down tooth enamel.  The process is gradual, but this type of severe tooth decary begins to be noticeable on the front four teeth around 12-18 months. In severe cases, the teeth turn into brown stumps that are totally decayed.

Maybe you’re wondering: Is this so terrible, since these are “just” baby teeth that will be replaced by adult teeth later on? Dr. Green warns that baby bottle decay can distort the spacing of permanent teeth. Furthermore, these baby teeth are the only ones your child will have during the years when much of his personality and self-image are formed. It is far kinder to help your baby find alternate ways to fall asleep, rather than risk tooth decay.

Some dentists caution against night-nursing, saying breastmilk can cause cavities in the same way that other calorie-containing liquids can. However, studies have shown that night-nursers don’t have any more cavities than children who are already weaned. In fact, breast milk prohibits acid and bacterial growth in the mouth. Furthermore, breastmilk does not generally pool in the mouth since it requires active sucking (and swallowing) to draw the milk out. Night-time nursing is vital, especially for small babies, and should be continued as long as possible.

Bottle Feeding and Ear Infections

Bottles should not be giving to a baby who is lying down flat on his back, as he would be at bedtime. When bottle-feeding in the lying-down position, formula may travel from the back of the baby’s throat up through the eustachian tube into the middle ear, causing ear infections (Dr. Sears). Hold your baby in a partially upright position during bottle-feeding. This helps prevent formula from dripping into the eustachian tubes (March of Dimes).

Furthermore, the vacuum created inside the bottle as the baby sucks can also cause problems in the ear. According to Dr. Brown: Negative pressure generated in the mouth is transmitted up the tube and into the middle ear where, as a result, fluid can build up. The increased fluid can cause hearing difficulties and infections. Interestingly, none of this occurs with breast feeding, which does not create any kind of vacuum and which actually creates positive pressure within the ear. Breastmilk also contains antibodies that help protect a baby from many infections, including those that can cause ear infections.

Bottle-Feeding and Obesity

In a new study published in the Journal of Pediatrics, researchers analyzed thousands of children, identifying those that were still using a bottle at age 2 as their primary drink container, and/or were put to bed with a bottle with a calorie-containing beverage (milk, formula, juice, etc).

The results show that infants who were bottled fed with calorie-containing beverages until the age of 2 showed a greater propensity toward obesity as they got older. About 23% of prolonged bottle users were obese by age 5.

This may be because bottle-feeding encourages the child to consume too many calories. “A 24-month-old girl of average weight and height who is put to bed with an 8-ounce bottle of whole milk would receive approximately 12% of her daily caloric needs from that bottle,” Rachel Gooze explains.

The authors suggest that pediatricians and other health professionals work with parents to find acceptable solutions for stopping bottle use at the child’s first birthday. Beginning by cutting out night-time bottles is an important first step. (Journal of Pediatrics)

Tips to Stop Night-time Bottle Feeding

  • One idea is to reduce the amount of milk, formula, or juice your baby is consuming at bedtime. You want to get to the point where she can fall asleep without drinking a bottle at all. Gradually reduce  the amount of milk or formula by 30ml per night until there are no more feeds. Depending on baby’s age, you can replace bottle feedings with some other comforting ritual, such as rocking, patting, singing, or reading stories.
  • Another way to reduce the amount of milk/juice your baby is drinking at night is to gradually dilute the feeds with water until your baby is just drinking water. And this may be so boring that he’ stop asking for it altogether!

7 Need-to-Know Reasons to Breastfeed your Baby

I’m a huge advocate of breastfeeding, and this isn’t the first time I’ve written about the benefits that come along with it.  I think it’s so important that I have nursed both my children until age 2, and plan to breastfeed the next one for that same amount, too, if possible.

I know that breastfeeding causes many problems for new mothers, including painful, bleeding nipples, infections, and babies who don’t seem to be getting enough milk. Breastfeeding also requires quite a time commitment, especially for working mothers who need to pump or take time off to feed their baby. It’s not always simple, for many reasons that are personal to each individual woman. I  had a hard time in the beginning, and have had many friends and family members who were so frustrated they’ve given up breastfeeding altogether.  But I also think that the benefits of breastfeeding are NOT widely known, so if you’re on the fence about breastfeeding, here’s another list of reasons to remind you why nursing your baby is one of the greatest things you can be doing for him/her!


image from HerDaily: Breastfeeding increases IQ

1. Breastfeeding Builds Your Baby’s Immune System

Newborns do not have a mature immune system to protect them from illness. Antibodies, or immune molecules, in a mother’s breast milk are transferred to the baby, giving them immunities to illnesses that the mother is immune to.  Beyond that, if your newborn is exposed to a germ, she will transfer it back to the mother while nursing. The mother’s body will then make antibodies to that particular germ and transfer them back to the baby at the next feeding.

Studies have also shown that babies who are breastfed exclusively have better functioning immune systems in the long-term as well.

Formula-fed babies have higher rates of:

  • Middle ear infections
  • Pneumonia
  • Gastroenteritis (stomach flu)
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Necrotizing enterocolitis, a digestive tract disorder that is a leading killer of premature infants

Breastfed infants have added protection against:

  • Heart disease
  • Immune system cancers such as lymphoma
  • Bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease
  • Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis
  • Asthma and allergies
  • Respiratory infections
  • Eczema
  • Type 1 and type 2 diabetes

2. Breastfeeding Improves Baby’s Brain Function

Breast milk is not only good for the newborn’s immune system, it is also good for the brain. Breastfed infants tend to have higher intelligence than formula-fed infants. This may be due to certain compounds found in breast milk, including omega-3 fatty acids.

For instance, one study found that the verbal IQ of 7- and 8-year-old children who had been breastfed was about 10 points higher than those who were not. Another 18-year study of over 1,000 children found that those who were breastfed had higher intelligence and greater academic achievement than children who were formula-fed as babies.

It is interesting to note that babies who are breastfed naturally spend more time in what is known as the “quiet alert” state, which is not only soothing for parents but also it is the state most conducive to the newborn’s learning.

3. Breastfeeding Reduces Obesity

Breast milk contains a protein that could reduce the risk of obesity later in life. In fact, the longer a child is breastfed, the lower their risk of obesity, according to a study by U.S. researchers. The protein affects the body’s processing of fat.

4. Breastfeeding Helps Babies Emotionally

Babies have an intense need to be held and one of the most comforting things for a newborn is the physical act of nursing. Leaving a baby alone with a bottle is not emotionally satisfying to the child and does not make them feel safe or secure.

Breastfeeding also promotes bonding between mother and baby in a way that bottle-feeding cannot. Most women naturally feel a strong desire to hold their baby and there are physical and emotional reasons for this. Breastfeeding ensures that mother and baby have some intimate time together and actually stimulates the mother’s release of the oxytocin hormone, which is known to promote maternal behavior.

5. Reduces Mom’s Risk of Cancer and Other Health Conditions

Breastfeeding is a mutually beneficial experience in that it helps both mother and child. Women who breastfeed have a reduced risk of breast and ovarian cancers and osteoporosis later in life.

6. Moms Return to Pre-Pregnancy Weight Faster

Breastfeeding women lose weight faster than those who do not. This is because producing milk and breastfeeding requires about 500 calories per day. This is the equivalent of jogging about five miles! Breastfeeding also stimulates contractions in the uterus that help it to shrink back to its normal, pre-pregnancy size faster. It also helps to reduce lower body fat.

7. Save Time and Money

Of course, your primary reason for wanting to breastfeed is for your baby, but the more material advantages of breastfeeding are hard to ignore. If you breastfeed you don’t have to prepare bottles and formula–breast milk is always fresh and ready to go. This will save you a substantial amount of time at a period in your life when you will need it!

Breastfeeding also saves you the expense of buying formula, which typically costs at least $800 per year. The savings continue to accumulate as your child grows, as breastfed babies tend to have fewer doctor’s visits and lower overall medical expenses. One study even found that a group of formula-fed babies had over $68,000 in health care costs for six months, compared to only $4,000 for the breastfed group.

From: Seven Reasons to Breastfeed Your Child That You Need to Know

More info: Breastfeeding A-Z Index

Obesity, Bariatric Surgery, and Pregnancy

Morbidly obese women are often infertile, according to The Consumer Guide to Bariatric Surgery, but if they are able to become pregnant, they are considered high risk.  These women are more likely to experience pregnancy-related complications, including gestational diabetes, hypertension, preeclampsia (high blood pressure, fluid buildup in the body and protein in the urine during pregnancy) and fetal distress. And they are more likely to require a cesarean or C-section delivery.

So is it safe to become pregnant after weight loss surgery? If so, how long should you wait? What can you do to ensure a healthy pregnancy and delivery after gastric bypass, gastric banding or other bariatric surgery? While many questions remain, the latest reports suggest that pregnancy after bariatric surgery is actually safer than becoming pregnant while still obese!

According to Science Daily, a recent study published in International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics finds that women who undergo bariatric surgery will reduce the risk of medical and obstetric complications when they become pregnant. The study was conducted by researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev’s (BGU) Faculty of Health Sciences.

The study indicated that the risk of gestational diabetes alone drops by 60 percent when an obese woman has bariatric surgery before getting pregnant. There were significantly lower rates of hypertensive disorders in general and severe pre-eclampsia in particular, as well as lower rates of diabetes mellitus and anemia following bariatric surgery.

Science Daily reports that the prevalence of people who are overweight or obese has increased dramatically in high-income countries over the past 20 years. In the United States, for example, some two-thirds (65.1%) of Americans aged 20 years or older are considered overweight; one-third (30.4%) are considered obese, and 4.9% are morbidly obese. Between 1999 and 2002, close to one-third of women of childbearing age in the United States were classified as obese.

In response, the incidence of bariatric surgery in the United States increased by 800 percent between 1998 and 2005. The Consumer Guide to Bariatric Surgery asserts that women of reproductive age (18 to 45) accounted for 83 percent of these weight loss surgeries (more than 50,000 women each year).

Wait Before Attempting Pregnancy After Bariatric Surgery

Women of childbearing age who wish to become pregnant after gastric bypass surgery or other malabsorptiove surgeries such as the duodenal switch procedure should wait 18 months, because this is when the rapid weight loss occurs. It can be challenging to meet nutritional needs during this time without the added concerns of pregnancy. Such rapid weight loss may deprive a developing fetus of the nutrients it needs to grow and thrive.

Gastric banding induces more gradual weight loss and does not cause any nutritional issues. Women who get banded should wait about six months before becoming pregnant so they will be at a healthy weight during pregnancy.

Women who are overweight or obese may have difficulty getting pregnant, but weight loss increases fertility. In fact, infertility issues linked to obesity are often resolved as hormones return to more natural levels.  Most surgeons advise women of childbearing age to use reliable contraception during the waiting period.

Will You Need a C-Section?

There is no medical reason that women who have become pregnant after bariatric surgery should require a C-section delivery, but they do seem to be more likely to deliver via C-section. Talk to your obstetrician about your chances of needing a C-section delivery as well as your preferences for delivering your baby. While a C-section is a relatively safe way to deliver a baby, it does carry more risks than vaginal delivery.

Make sure your Nutritional Needs are Met

The Consumer Guide to Bariatric Surgery advises you to make your obstetrician aware of the type of bariatric surgery that you had, and be in contact with your bariatric surgeon during your pregnancy to make sure you and your baby are getting proper nutrition. You may be referred to a registered dietitian to help make sure you are getting proper nutrition during pregnancy. Women who have had gastric banding have the same nutritional requirements as women who have not had gastric banding. Women who have had malabsorptive weight loss surgery such as gastric bypass or biliopancreatic diversion may need regular blood tests to check for nutrient deficiencies during pregnancy.

Prenatal vitamins are an important part of a healthy pregnancy and contain many essential nutrients. Women should start taking prenatal vitamins before they even become pregnant.

Gastric Banding: Special Pregnancy Issues

Gastric banding surgery is adjustable. Some women who are pregnant require deflation of the band due to severe nausea and vomiting, which can occur during pregnancy and as a result of gastric banding. This is typically an individual decision. If you are having severe morning sickness, your bariatric surgeon may deflate the band to help you feel better. Your surgeon can also loosen your band so you can eat more. However, many women don’t have to touch their band at all during pregnancy.

Women who have undergone gastric banding before pregnancy may have trouble tolerating over-sized prenatal vitamins. They may develop heartburn, or the prenatal vitamin may remain in their esophagus, causing ulcers. Talk to your obstetrician about chewable or liquid prenatal vitamins to avoid these complications.

Breastfeeding After Bariatric Surgery

Women who become pregnant after bariatric surgery can still breastfeed, provided there are continued nutritional monitoring and supplementation. Talk to your surgeon, obstetrician, a lactation consultant and/or a registered dietician to make sure you and your baby are getting all the nutrition you need.It’s also important to make sure you are drinking enough water so your milk does not dry up.

Please visit The Consumer Guide to Bariatric Surgery to find out more about weight-loss surgery and pregnancy-related issues.

Your pregnancy diet can decrease baby’s risk of obesity

What pregnancy eating style do you think would contribute toward obesity in children? A high fat diet? Too many extra calories? Junk food? Well, none of those are good for your growing baby, but here’s some surprising news: Women who eat too little during pregnancy increase the risk of obesity in their children! Go figure!

Researchers have discovered eating too few calories while pregnant changes the way that a baby’s fat cells behave once they are born.  It causes excessive levels of inflammation which can damage the body’s ability to metabolise food, which leaves the youngsters at risk of putting on excessive weight.

The study is headed by Dr Helen Budge, who reminds us that what a mother eats while pregnant can have a large impact on the health of their baby in later life.  Instead of viewing obesity as entirely the fault of the individual, pregnant women must realize that genetic and environmental factors play a huge part. “What is particularly interesting is that we are not just talking about babies that have been malnourished while in the womb but those that are born within normal weight ranges,” says Dr. Budge.

Over-eating is similarly harmful too. So what is the advice? A healthy, balanced diet, of course!

Plus-size Pregnancy Support and Info

After posting about Lisa Graves, a woman refused admittance to her neighborhood maternity ward because of her weight, I found this website called Plus-Size-Pregnancy. It is dedicated to providing “Empowering Information for Women of Size (and Women of All Sizes).”

Readers will notice that this website presents a different view on obesity and pregnancy, compared to most websites. “Instead of “gloom and doom” scare tactics and lectures, I prefer to emphasize a positive approach, with realistic looks at the risks but also at the success stories and happy outcomes.” There are articles on Size Acceptance and dieting and ways to make your pregnancy as healthy as possible. There are also tips on finding a “Size Friendly Provider” and Top Ten Hints for a Better Birth. You can also get important info on prenatal testing, epidurals, oversize blood pressure cuffs, alternative medicine, breastfeeding, delivery, cesareans, VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) and postpartum. And of course there are Birth Stories of Big Beautiful Women.

This is a website full of important information and support for obese (and every size) women. Don’t hesitate to check it out! Here’s to an informed, empowered pregnancy for women of all sizes!

Overweight woman turned away from maternity ward

Lisa Graves, a 26 year old Australian mother, is 4 months pregnant and weighs 100 kg (220 lbs). Her local hospital is refusing to admit her due to her weight, instead directing her to another hospital that’s better equipped to deal with complex births.

Ms Graves  says the hospital is discriminating against her. “It’s my local public hospital. I should have access to it.”

But Dr Christine Tippett, president of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, says directing obese pregnant women to high-needs maternity units is in their best interest. “Women who are seriously overweight have to recognise that it is not only a risk to their health but that the pregnancy can be associated with problems, and it is better to go somewhere where there are more people available. It is done with the woman’s best interests in mind and it should not be seen as discrimination at all. It is safe medical practice.”

Obesity can lead to high blood pressure and pregnancy diabetes. Ultrasounds and monitering babies during labor are more difficult. Epidurals are harder to administer, and it is more difficult to operate if an obese woman needs to go to theatre.

For these reasons, as well as other general health matters, and the health of the baby, its important for obese women planning to get pregnant to deal with their weight issue. Get more info here.

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