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Health Bite: Watch the Licorice Intake Moms0 Comments

admin | 10:19 am | November 12, 2012 | Pregnancy and Baby Feeding

Black Licorice

Children whose mothers eat excessive amounts of liquorice during pregnancy may be more likely to perform poorly in tests and have behavioural problems, according to new research.

Writing in the American Journal of Epidemiology, scientists at the University of Helsinki and the University of Edinburgh raised serious concerns about liquorice consumption among pregnant women.

These children were also more likely to have poor attention spans and suffer from disruptive behaviour problems such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Researchers said a component in liquorice called glycyrrhizin might be to blame. They said the chemical might impair the placenta, allowing stress hormones to cross from the mother to the baby.

High levels of such hormones, known as glucocorticoids, are thought to affect fetal brain development and have been linked to behavioural disorders in children, according to the scientists.

Of the children who took part in the study, 64 were exposed to such high levels of glycyrrhizin in liquorice, 46 to moderate levels and 211 to low levels.

The advice is not to totally avoid liquorice, but it certainly should not be something taken in excess during pregnancy.

My 8 month old baby has just been diagnosed with allergies to both dairy and soya. How can I avoid these foods and still ensure that the diet is balanced?0 Comments

admin | 10:16 am | | Pregnancy and Baby Feeding

ricemilkA lot of babies that are allergic to dairy are also allergic to soya, which makes feeding rather difficult, especially when it comes to milk feeds. An allergic child should be kept on breast milk for as long a possible. So if you are still breastfeeding, keep it up! Otherwise, dairy and soya free follow on formulas are available for children with multiple allergies. You could also try rice milk in the bottle or to mix with cereals.

Avoiding diary means avoiding all foods made from cow’s milk, like yogurt, cheese, butter, cream and milk itself. You’ll also need to read labels for words like casein or whey which also indicates that dairy is present in that food or product. One major concern with dairy and soya allergy is calcium deficiency (soya products are also a good calcium source). Baby can get his fix from rice milks enriched with calcium, breast milk, infant formulas, molasses (a type of syrup), green vegetables, almonds, sesame seeds and fish tinned with bones. Milk products are also rich in riboflavin, so include other good food sources include meat, chicken, cereals and green vegetables.

There are no deficiencies that will develop from avoiding soy, but it’s a fairly difficult allergen to stay away from, because it’s added as an ingredient in so many products. Its easy enough to avoid soy based products, which include tofu, soya beans, soya sauce, miso and tamari but certain breads, cereals, baby foods, cakes, biscuits, crackers, sauces and margarines can also contain soya. You will always be able to find soya free varieties of these foods, but you may need to visit a specialty store. Reading product labels is crucial. Look out for words like soya, vegetable gum, vegetable protein and lecithin, which may indicate that the product contains soya.

Most children grow out of their dairy and soya allergies by age 2 or 3, so you can try and re-introduce foods slowly then and check for reactions. For now, avoidance is the best defense.

My 8 month old baby won’t eat fish. Is it necessary for me to supplement his diet with certain good fats?0 Comments

admin | 10:11 am | | Pregnancy and Baby Feeding

babyeatingfish The essential fats found in oily fish are known as omega-3 fatty acids. They’re also known as essential fats, because the body cannot make them and they must be taken in the diet. There are other sources of these fats, but the most important component of omega-3’s – DHA (or docosahexaenoic acid) are found exclusively in only two sources: breast milk and fish. DHA is important for infants because it is the main structural component of brain tissue, and the first year of a baby’s life is when most of their neural pathways are formed. This is why breast milk is so rich in it- because it’s essential to baby’s development. A deficiency of DHA has been linked to reduced brain development and certain developmental disorders, like ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). So if you breastfed for at least 4 months, are still breastfeeding, or are using a DHA enriched formula, he may still be meeting his needs. If not, you can consider supplementing his diet with a DHA supplement or fish oil supplement designed for infants. Remember too, that babies can be really fussy. It’s advisable to not give up and try introducing fish regularly until he succumbs. You could also try introducing a flaxseed oil supplement. It’s rich in other omega-3 fatty acids that can be converted to DHA in the body, although some people lack the enzymes to do this. Other food sources of omega-3 fatty acids include walnuts, tofu and green vegetables. Breastfeeding mom’s who supplement with DHA also have a higher DHA level in their breast milk.

Do I have to give up my morning cup of coffee now that I’m pregnant?0 Comments

admin | 10:08 am | | Pregnancy and Baby Feeding, Uncategorized


Not necessarily, but the issue of caffeine intake during pregnancy is still a hotly debated one. The caffeine found in coffee passes through the placenta and onto your growing baby, where it can exert its effects. However, most research has found that moderateintake (that’s no more than 300mg caffeine per day or 2 cups of coffee per day) won’t harm your baby. So that one cup in the morning may still be OK.

It’s still sensible to limit caffeine intake during pregnancy. For one thing, it’s a diuretic, causing you to lose water and minerals. It can also cause insomnia, anxiety and nervousness. And if you’re sensitive to caffeine’s effects, it’s likely that your baby will be too. Babies born to caffeine drinking moms also tend to have faster heart rates and spend more time awake in the first days after birth. Some studies found that women who consumed more than 300mg of caffeine a day had a higher rate of miscarriage, preterm labour and low birth weight babies.

It’s not just coffee intake that you need to watch. Caffeine is also found in black Ceylon teas, green teas, chocolates and cola flavoured cold drinks. Your average cup of brewed tea can contain anywhere between 25mg and 175mg of caffeine, a chocolate bar contains 10mg to 30mg per bar and a can of Coco-Cola comes in at about 35mg per can.

My advice is that it’s still wiser to cut caffeine out or limit it as much as possible. Decaffeinated coffees are fine, but should also be kept to a minimum. Why not try Chicory and other caffeine free coffee substitutes that taste almost identical to the real thing? Rooibos, honey bush and herbal infusion teas are also a great way to enjoy a caffeine free hot beverage.

I have 3 girls and am trying for a boy. Is it true that the diet before conception can influence the sex of my baby?0 Comments

admin | 11:31 am | November 29, 2011 | Pregnancy and Baby Feeding


There had been no evidence that diet can influence your baby’s gender until recently. Researchers from the universities of Exeter and Oxford in England asked 740 first-time moms in the United Kingdom to keep food diaries before and during early pregnancy. The women didn’t know the sex of their babies, but when researchers reviewed their food plans, they found that moms who consumed more kilojoules of higher quality before conceiving were about 24 percent more likely to give birth to boys than moms who ate less. The average energy intake of women bearing boys was 10135 kilojoules. The researchers found that women who gave birth to boys also had higher levels of protein, potassium, calcium, vitamin C and vitamin B12. There is also some evidence that in developing countries where food is scarce, the amount of boys born is dropping. The research is interesting, but it certainly is not the whole truth and we don’t yet fully understand the nutritional factors that play a role in conception.

Increasing your kilojoule intake does come with risks though, which include weight gain and a high pre-pregnancy weight. It is not advised to gorge out while sacrificing on good nutrition. Also if you are overweight, increasing kilojoules to as much as 10 000 could result in rapid weight gain and a high pre-pregnancy weight if followed for too long. To put this research to the test, start to increase your intake of nutritious foods, like lean protein, fruits, vegetables, dairy products and wholegrains and exercise at least 5 times a week to compensate for the high kilojoule intake.

Question: My baby gets wind after a bottle feed. What can I do to prevent this?0 Comments

admin | 11:26 am | | Pregnancy and Baby Feeding, Uncategorized

bottleAnswer: Bottle fed babies do tend to get more problems with wind than breast-fed babies do because the rate at which they get milk is slower with breast-feeding. The wind is caused by air being swallowed into your baby’s tummy during feeding. Sometimes the air gets trapped and it forms a bubble in her stomach that causes some discomfort. Make sure that the inside of her teat is saturated with milk by tilting the bottle at an angle. Feeding her in an upright position, rather than supine, also helps.  Offer small amounts of milk at a time (about 60-90ml) and take short breaks to allow her to bring up wind. To assist her to bring up some wind you can try holding her upright over your shoulder holding her with one arm and using the opposite arm to rub or pat her back. You could also try sitting her upright on your lap and leaning her slightly forwards supporting her chin with one hand and using the other hand to rub or pat her back. Another position is done by laying her on your lap on her belly and supporting her head so tat it’s higher than her chest and from there rub or pat her back. The rubbing and patting need not be rough, just gentle motions will do. Try all three positions and see what works best for her. Some gripe water on her teat or on a dummy teat or dropped into the mouth can help assist the process of burping up air. If she is consistently battling to bring up wind or becomes very distressed, she may have colic in which case, she needs to be treated accordingly.

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