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Let's Talk Babies!

baby nutrition

baby bottle

There is a new study out by the Archives of Disease in Childhood which indicates that moms aren’t getting enough information regarding proper preparation for bottles of formula.  Many mothers are getting information from sources such as family members and friends instead of from healthcare professionals and child care experts.  This results in a lot of bottle feeding misinformation and mistakes.

Proper bottle preparation can make a huge difference.  With incorrect bottle preparation you run the risk of causing unnecessary gassiness, upset stomachs or even injuring your baby.  There are several common mistakes that are made when parents and child care providers prepare bottles of formula.  Many of these mistakes are the result of misinformation and are easy to fix.

Common Mistake #1:

Heating a bottle of formula in the microwave.  Using the microwave is dangerous in that it can result in pockets of very hot spots in the bottle that could cause injury.

Fix:

You should always heat a baby bottle slowly in a pot of warm water, under a tap of running warm water, or in a specially designed electric bottle warmer.

Common Mistake #2:

Making the bottle with hot tap water instead of using cold water and then heating the bottle afterwards.  Hot tap water is more likely to contain lead.

Fix:

Always choose cold water and let it run for a minute or two before filling the bottle to allow the water that has been sitting in the pipes to run out first (water that has been sitting in the pipes is more likely to contain lead as well).

Common Mistake #3:

Opening a new can of formula straight from the shelf without rinsing off the top.

Fix:

Always wash off the top of the formula can before opening it to get rid of the dirt, dust and bacteria so it doesn’t get into the formula itself.

Common Mistake #4:

Adding extra water to the bottle, which, can dilute the baby’s sodium levels and lead to seizures.

Fix:

Always fill the bottle with the correct amount of water.  Fill the bottle with water first and then add the formula.  The directions on the side of the can of formula will let you know how much water to add.

Common Mistake #5:

Not sterilizing the bottles before use and periodically during the life of the bottle.

Fix:

Always sterilize new bottles before the first use and sterilize them periodically throughout the life of the bottle (if not after every use).

As an expectant or new parent you will be flooded with tips, suggestions and advice.  It is hard to weed through all the advice and know what is advice you can use and what advice contains misinformation or old information and should be avoided.  If you are ever unsure about something don’t be afraid to ask your child’s pediatrician or another healthcare professional.   It is always better to ask, even if you feel like it is a stupid question, than to do the wrong thing that could result in discomfort or even injury to your child.

What sort of tips and advice did you get about bottle feeding that ended up being completely wrong?

I read about Alex Lange the other day in an article in the Denver Post , his story has since seen coverage on almost all the major news outlets.

The Lange’s story is like so many others who struggle to find health insurance in the private, non-group market, they hit the brick wall of underwriting.  The Langes had been searching for new health insurance for their family because their current insurer had raised their rates by 40%.  They worked with an health insurance broker to find the right company and policy to meet their families needs.  They submitted their application and awaited the result of the underwriting process with Rocky Mountain Health Plans.  I’m sure they never expected the response they received.  Their delightful, happy, healthy little 4 month old, Alex, was being denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition, obesity.  That’s right, I said obesity.  You see, Alex, is a big baby, weighing in at 17lbs.  He is in the 99th percentile for both his weight and his height.  His pediatrician had never mentioned this as a problem to the Langes.   The Langes were stunned and angered by the outcome of their search for health insurance.  Alex’s father, Bernie stated in his interview with the Denver Post “I could understand if we could control what he’s eating. But he’s 4 months old. He’s breast-feeding. We can’t put him on the Atkins diet or on a treadmill.”

After several days of media coverage regarding this story Rocky Mountain Health Plans has announced a change in how it handles “fat” babies.  It will no longer consider “obesity” in infants as a pre-existing condition.  Big surprise there.  It is amazing what a little bad press can make a company do.  The problem is that insurance companies had this approach in the first place.

I was outraged when I first read this story, completely furious.   I’m happy that the outcome has changed and that Alex is no longer being denied health insurance simply because he is a heavy baby.  But it is sad that the denial happened in the first place, that his family had to go to the media to get the results they deserved in the first place.  This is just another piece of evidence that the health care/insurance system in the United States is in desperate need of reform.

Not every woman will choose to breastfeed their child. For those who cannot or choose not to breastfeed, bottlefeeding is a healthy alternative. So many women are made to feel guilty because they do not opt to breastfeed their children. All the advances made with formula have helped make it a healthy alternative to breast milk.

There are many reasons a woman may not breastfeed. Women with medical conditions such as HIV/AIDS, heart disease, kidney disease or prolactin deficiency, to name a few, will find themselves unable to breastfeed. Also, the baby may have a medical condition that prevents it from being able to breastfeed, such as those babies born with a cleft palate. And for some woman it is simply a matter of personal choice.

Bottlefeeding does carry with it some advantages that breastfeeding does not.

  • Bottlefeeding provides more freedom, like allowing others to provide more assistance with the care of the baby. Fathers can take one of the nighttime feedings without having to wake you up!!
  • Babies who are bottlefed often go longer between feedings, meaning longer periods of sleep at night, which is a very good thing.
  • It is a lot easier to learn how to bottlefeed than it is to learn how to breastfeed.
  • Planning your return to work becomes easier if you bottlefeed since you won’t have to worry about finding a time and place to pump.
  • Most importantly bottlefeeding does allow dad to take a more active role, which is good for both father and baby.

We have all heard that “breast is best”, and I am an advocate for breastfeeding. However, breastfeeding is not an option for every woman, either by choice or by circumstances. It is important for every mom to educate herself on the options out there and choose that option which she feels is best for her and her baby. Getting dads involved in the discussion is important too. They may have some very strong feelings about which option you choose and may come up with some points that you hadn’t thought about. If you have specific questions be sure to ask your prenatal caregiver or a pediatrician for advice.

It is important to choose the option that is best for you and your baby.

(source Your Pregnancy Week by Week)