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No, Formula Doesn’t Need Warming!

June 30, 2017 by  
Filed under J.Bright

Mother Feeding Her Baby ca. October 2000

And 5 other baby formula myths—debunked

By Rallie McAllister, MD, MPH

The MythBusters on TV’s Discovery channel tackled hundreds—if not thousands—of myths in their 19 seasons on the air. If they talked about infant feeding, I must have missed that episode. Yet baby feeding has many pervasive myths—especially about infant formula. Here are five of my favorites.

Myth 1: Breast is best.

Fact: Not for every mother and baby. Baby formulas are a completely acceptable, doctor-approved, and time-tested option when feeding baby. Breastfeeding is hard. It seems like it should be natural easy, but so often it isn’t. A recent study conducted by Perrigo Nutritionals found that more than half of moms experience issues when it comes to breastfeeding baby with low breast milk supply being the top concern. Additionally, while only 18 percent of new moms expect to introduce infant formula to baby during the first three days of life, in reality, 45 percent relied on infant formula during those first days. If you experience breastfeeding challenges, look to formula as an ally – it can be used as a supplement while breastfeeding to provide some relief or used exclusively depending on mom and baby’s needs. Also, know that you can find help and support. Consider talking with a friend who has nursed her babies, your pediatrician, a lactation consultant, or a local La Leche League.

Myth 2: You have to sterilize your baby’s bottles.

Fact: No. This is another time-saver for you! You should sterilize new bottles and nipples before you use them for the first time. Simply put them in boiling water for 5 minutes. After that first time, however, you probably don’t need to sterilize them again.

Instead, you can run bottles and nipples through the dishwasher. Or if you’re “old school,” wash them in hot, soapy water. Rinse them carefully to remove any soap residue.

Myth 3: Babies prefer warm formula.

Fact: Not necessarily. It’s perfectly fine to feed your baby formula at room temperature (as long as it’s freshly prepared), or even a little cool from the refrigerator. Your baby is most likely to prefer his or her formula at a consistent temperature. In other words, if you start warming it you’ll probably have to continue warming it.

Here’s an easy way to warm your baby’s bottle: Set the filled bottle in a container of warm water and let it stand for a few minutes. Check the temperature of the formula on the inside of your wrist before feeding it to your baby. It should feel lukewarm, not hot.

Myth 4: Measuring formula isn’t a big deal—just “eyeball it.”

Fact: The instructions for preparing your baby’s formula are important. Follow the directions on the label carefully. If you put too little water in your baby’s formula, it can give baby dehydration or diarrhea. If you put too much water in the formula, you’re watering it down and your baby isn’t getting enough nutrients. It’s critical to measure carefully each and every time.

Myth 5: Brand name formula is best.

Fact: Nationally advertised, brand-name formula and store brand formula are practically identical—but have different effects on your family budget! Did you know that all infant formulas sold in the United States must meet the same FDA standards and offer complete nutrition for baby? That means store brand formula is nutritionally comparable to nationally advertised brands. In fact, store brand formula is clinically proven to support baby’s growth and development and proven to be just as well tolerated by your baby as those other brands.

So, what’s the main difference? Store brand formula costs less because they don’t spend millions of dollars on marketing – think about all the ads you see on TV and all the samples that get handed out in doctors’ offices.  In the case of those big brands, those marketing costs are passed on to you in the form of a higher price tag on each container of formula.

Once you get into the groove of feeding your baby, it will all feel like second nature. And then it will almost be time to give up the bottle!

About the author: Rallie McAllister, MD, MPH, is a family physician and mom of three sons in Lexington, KY. She’s the co-author of the Mommy MD Guides books, including The Mommy MD Guide to Your Baby’s First Year.

About the survey: Perrigo Nutritionals, the makers of store brand formula, conducted the survey in February of 2017, among 2,000 nationally representative Americans between the ages of 18 and 65 who currently have a child between the ages of one and three.  Margin of error is +/- 3 percent. To learn more about store brand formula or to discover special promotions or offers, visit www.storebrandformula.com.

Total savings with Store Brand Infant Formula calculations based on a price per fl. oz. comparison of Store Brand Infant Formulas and their comparable national brands. Retail prices are from a May 2017 retail price survey of assorted stores. Actual prices and savings may vary by store and location.

 

My Breastfeeding Turning Point

June 15, 2017 by  
Filed under J.Bright

My mom with my son Tyler

My mom with my son Tyler

I recently came across a blog on the Honest Company’s site about  Honest Moments. That got me thinking: What are MY parenting honest moments? I can honestly say I have had lots of them! Here’s one of my favorites…

My mom had a theory. She and I were always very close. My mom and I were dear friends who had the tremendous fortune to be mother and daughter. My mom attributed this to the fact that she nursed me.

Because of this, I was determined to nurse my son. Little did I know how hard that resolve would be tested!

My son started to cry the moment he was born. He cried—screamed really—the entire time we were in the hospital. At times, I wondered if the nurses might come take him away! I tried so hard to nurse, but it was challenging and painful.

I was determined to nurse, so I kept trying. And he kept crying—most of his waking hours. Nursing soothed him a bit, as did walking around carrying him in my arms. So I did both, for hours on end.

That ironically made nursing even harder! My nipples got sore and cracked, and I developed mastitis. In desperation, when my son was around a week old, I called my sister, whose children were older than mine.

“Keep trying,” she advised. “I promise, if you stick with it, in a week or two, he will become so comfortable nursing he’ll be hanging off of you like a little monkey.”

I found that extremely hard to believe, but the image amused me at least. The promise of that gave me the strength to stick with it.

My greatest fear was that my son was crying because he was starving. He was nursing often, but was he actually getting any milk? Nursing wasn’t working well for us, and I was almost ready to quit.

The hospital had given me the name and phone number for a local lactation consultant. I called and set up an appointment for her to come to my house.

When the lactation consultant arrived the next day, it was like a breath of fresh air. She was warm, comforting, confident. She talked to me for a few minutes and asked me some questions.

And then she did something completely unexpected.  She weighed my son. Then she had me nurse him. And then she weighed him again! Voila! He weighed more! That was the proof I needed that nursing was working, he was getting milk. I knew that I could do this.

Shortly after that aha moment, nursing clicked for us. I felt so much better, and my baby stopped crying quite so much. I nursed him for over a year—until I got pregnant with his brother.

He took to nursing right away. I nursed him for almost two years. I have the wonderful memory that the last time I ever nursed a baby was on vacation at Walt Disney World. Knowing I’d have that treasured memory made it easier to wean my youngest for good.

About the author: Jennifer Bright is cofounder of Momosa Publishing LLC, publisher of the Mommy MD Guides books, featuring tips that doctors who are also mothers use for their own families—and more. She lives with her two sons in Bethlehem, PA.

Feeding Baby the First Year: What Pediatricians Actually Do At Home

April 20, 2017 by  
Filed under R.McAllister

Mother Feeding BabyIt’s one of the great ironies of parenting: feeding your baby.  Something that should be so simple, so often isn’t. In fact, deciding how to feed your baby in the first year may appear, at first glance, to be one of the great divides of parenting. Many parents think that you  must choose between breastfeeding OR formula feeding, but that’s simply not true.

Think of it as a continuum with exclusively breastfeeding on one end and exclusively bottle-feeding with formula on the other with a wide range of combinations in between.  It may be surprising to learn that most babies fall within the latter, with parents choosing to do a combination of both.

Perrigo Nutritionals, the makers of store brand infant formula, recently conducted a nationwide survey of 2,000 moms with children between the ages of one and three to gain insight into mom’s thoughts on baby’s first year. Interestingly, the survey found that although three out of four moms said they used infant formula during baby’s first year, one out of 10 new moms weren’t completely honest about breastfeeding baby to avoid criticism from family and friends. As parents, we face many pressures each day.  We talked to some of our Mommy MD Guides—doctors who are also mothers— to share some of their own personal feeding experiences. What we learned? It’s a personal decision and there’s no right or wrong choice. Here’s what they had to say…

“I had really set out to breastfeed my son. But from the very beginning, breastfeeding was very challenging,” said Wendy Sue Swanson, MD, a pediatrician and mom of two, in Seattle. “It was extremely emotional for me; on some level it was even devastating. When my son was a few weeks old, I got such severe mastitis that I was hospitalized. After I went home, I continued to pump for several months. It was pure misery for me. The moment both my son and I started to thrive was when I finally stopped and switched to formula”

“Although I nursed both of my daughters for their first six or seven months, I found it helpful not to be rigid with only breast milk,” said Darlene Gaynor-Krupnick, DO, urologist and mom of two in northern Virginia. “Formula was heavier, and my daughters seemed to sleep better when they were ‘topped off’ with a bottle before bedtime.”

“I breastfed and gave my babies formula as a supplement early on and switched to formula all the way by 4 months,“ says Sigrid Payne DaVeiga, MD, a pediatric allergist and mom of three,  in Philadelphia, PA.

“I had planned to breastfeed for the first six months, but unfortunately I was only able to breastfeed for approximately four months,” said Kathleen Moline, DO, a family physician and mom of one in Winfield, IL. “Pumping at work was challenging, and eventually my daughter preferred bottles to breastfeeding. Part of the learning process was that what I had planned or expected wasn’t always the way it worked out, and that was okay.”

“I breastfed my son, but to give myself more flexibility time-wise, I pumped often,” said Leigh Andrea DeLair, MD, a family physician and mom of one in Danville, KY. “I also supplemented my son’s diet with formula. He thrived.”

At the end of the day, choosing how to feed your baby is a great microcosm for the parenting experience in general: You do the best that you can, you learn as you go, and flexibility is the key. You—and your baby—will be happier and healthier if every now and then you have a tincture of patience and a cup of calm, two of the best medicines.

About the author: Rallie McAllister, MD, MPH, is a family physician and mom of three sons in Lexington, KY. She’s the co-author of the Mommy MD Guides books, including The Mommy MD Guide to Your Baby’s First Year, from where these tips were excerpted.

About the survey: Perrigo Nutritionals, the makers of store brand formula, conducted the survey in February of 2017, among 2,000 nationally representative Americans between the ages of 18 and 65 who currently have a child between the ages of one and three.  Margin of error is +/- 3 percent. To learn more about store brand formula or to discover special promotions or offers, visit storebrandformula.com.

 

Mommy MD Guides-Recommended Product Review/Giveaway: Bumkins Prize Pack

December 1, 2012 by  
Filed under J.Bright

by Mommy MD Guides blogger Jennifer Bright Reich

Do you hate to do laundry?

Me too. Nobody can generate loads and loads of laundry like babies and toddlers. Never in my life did I wash so much laundry as when my sons were little. And to make matters worse, few things stain clothes like baby food.

I’m delighted to tell you that there’s a simple solution: Bumkins Bibs. These waterproof bibs resist most stains. They’re machine washable; PVC-, BPA-, phthalates-, and lead-free; comfortable to wear; and made of colorful fabrics and designs.

“My son could be a very messy eater,” says Eva Mayer, MD, a mom of an eight-year-old daughter and a six-year-old son and a pediatrician with St. Luke’s Pediatrics Associates, in Bethlehem, PA.

“I bought a Bumkins Super Bib. The bib had a pocket at the bottom, so any food that missed my son’s mouth fell into the pocket. It was so funny, after my son finished his meal, he’d eat a second meal out of that pocket.”

Another challenge that I had when my sons were babies was keeping them warm when we went on walks. We had a fabulous jogging stroller, and we went for walks almost every night. To keep my sons warm, I’d cover them with a blanket. Just about every night that pesky blanket fell off, and I ran over it with the stroller! Yep, this created even more laundry.

Bumkins has a solution for that too: Bumkins Waterproof Stroller Blanket. This clever blanket attaches easily to the stroller with four Velcro straps, and it stays put. The best part is it has elastic at the bottom, so you can gather it around your baby’s feet. The blanket is generously sized at 30 X 40 inches. The exterior is waterproof (unlike regular blankets!) and the inside is a soft, microplush.  For moms who carry their babies in hands-free carriers, the Stroller Blanket also doubles as a blanket for your carrier, with the Velcro attaching easily to the carriers’ straps

For more information on Bumkins products, visit Bumkins.com. You can buy Bumkins products in stores such as Target and Walmart an at online retailers such as Amazon.com.

Enter here through the end of December for a chance to win a Bumkins Prize Pack filled with a Bumkins Junior Bib, Bumkins Super Bib, Bumkins Sleeved Big, Bumkins Tote Bag, and Bumkins Waterproof Stroller Blanket: That’s a $75 value.

Check our blog page in early January for our next Mommy MD Guides-Recommended (and Kid-Tested) Product review: FeverAll Acetaminophen

Pull up a high chair

September 19, 2010 by  
Filed under K.Rowell

How do you do a family meal with a 9 month old!?” I was asked. All too often the high chair is standing in the middle of the kitchen, someone puts a handful of Cheerios on the tray, a few mashed bananas and then cleans the kitchen or unloads the dishwasher. I get how crazy life can get so sometimes this is OK, but…

Pull your kids up to the table and sit down with them and eat a meal or a snack. Smile, chat, enjoy your food.

Most high-chairs today come with detachable trays so they can get right up to the table. If not, pull them up next to you and use the tray. These cool chairs in the photo are probably some of the smartest I’ve seen, but they’re really pricey. They allow for the feet to rest on a platform which can be really great for fidgety or easily distracted kids. (A child on the autism spectrum might benefit from a chair like this.) This is a great solution for several years. (I can’t tell you how many boosters and Kaboosts we tried. If I had to do it over again, I’d get one of these…)
As your children are able, you share the foods you are eating. Perhaps some softly cooked green beans mashed up, ground beef in broth or sauce, or pieces of watermelon or mashed potato…

Eat with them. Enjoy your time together. The pre-toddler phase is a great time to introduce lots of tastes as kids this stage are pretty accepting. (Children get naturally more picky as they get into the toddler and preschool years.) Enjoy the mess. Change out of your work clothes before sitting down, enjoy watching them intently scrape food into their mouths. Staying close is the best protection against choking. Know that some gagging is normal. Know that some meals they will eat a lot and at others they will eat less. Let them decide how much. Consider breast feeding or bottle feeding after they have had their meal with you. As they eat more solid foods, they will naturally take in less milk. They are still getting most of their nutrition through breast milk or formula, so don’t worry too much about fruits and vegetables. Remember, if the experience of eating is pleasant, and you offer a variety of fruits and vegetables and other foods and you enjoy eating them, chances are your kids will too.


The information on MommyMDGuides.com is not intended to replace the diagnosis, treatment, and services of a physician. Always consult your physician or child care expert if you have any questions concerning your family's health. For severe or life-threatening conditions, seek immediate medical attention.