I found an article in the local newspaper that I thought was interesting and often asked by new mothers. Dr. Claire McCarthy is a primary care pediatrician at Harvard-affiliated Boston Children’s Hospital, and much of the information came from her.
Apparently research has instigated three big changes where feeding infants and young children are involved:
✓ For many youngsters their first solid food was a little rice cereal. This used to be recommended by Pediatricians as a go-to starting food. When the Consumer Products Safety Commission raised concern about the amount of arsenic in rice and rice products, this view changed. Rice pulls arsenic from the soil. Many problems can be caused as a result of arsenic consumption including an increased risk of cancer. Those babies who received two servings of rice cereal a day could double their cancer risk over a lifetime. It has been recommended to pass the rice cereal until more is known on this subject.
✓ It is now recommended to make fish a part of your child’s diet, as fish is full of important nutrients. Sweden conducted a study that showed children who ate fish just twice a month during infancy had a 25% lower risk of allergies. These babies were followed until they were 12 years old and their risk remained low.
✓ We’ve always heard “do not feed your young babies or children peanut butter”. Doctors were always telling us not to give this product to our children until they were at least 2 or 3 because of allergies. This new study completely reverses this belief and shows that giving peanut products early in life (between 4 and 11 months) can actually prevent peanut allergy.
These are just a few of the earlier beliefs that have been debunked for what we feed our children to keep them free of allergy and health problems. Every day it seems an old myth we firmly believed in and religiously stuck to, has now been reversed or changed. This ever changing world of science and technology keeps us on our toes and keeps teaching us new ways to live, right? Sometimes it take a little bit for the “old dogs” to learn new tricks, but facts proven to be true are worth it. Get out that jar of almond butter and don’t fret when your child enjoys that popular snack!
-Dr Fredda Branyon