Infant Gut Microbiota

Assumption: All human guts contain similar microbiota.

FALSE
This study analyzed the gut microbiota of infants and determined that two factors significantly impacted the types of microbiota found.  The factors were elective cesarean birth and ingestion of infant formula.

http://www.cmaj.ca/content/early/2013/02/11/cmaj.121189

My Views:
This study does not define any particular gut microbiota as “good” or “bad.”  It simply states that the make-up is *different* in babies, depending on type of delivery and what they are fed.  From here we can research how each of these microbes works and what we can do to keep our babies as healthy as possible.  So, I don’t see this study as an endpoint, but as a beginning.

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Swaddling

Assumption: Swaddling is good for babies.

TRUE, BUT
Swaddling has been proved to comfort newborns and help their brains regulate, but there are dangers in swaddling as well.  Hip dysplasia can be caused by swaddling an infant with legs straight.  This article sums up the research on this problem and has pictures of the best way to swaddle a baby.

http://aapnews.aappublications.org/content/32/9/11.1.full

My Views:  Swaddling has become more and more used in the past decade or so, as infants have been put on their backs to sleep (to avoid SIDS).  Newborns startle easily and swaddling seems to help some babies feel more secure when placed on their backs.  If you observe a newborn, you will see that the natural position of the hips is flexed.  Swaddling with this natural position in mind can help prevent hip dysplasia (misalignment of the hip joint).  As a side note, those who like to “wear” their babies should keep this positioning in mind as well.  If your baby is hanging from his/her crotch, the legs are not in a natural position.  A carrier that allows the baby to “sit” with hips flexed is better for the baby’s development.

Exclusive Breastfeeding

Assumption:  Mothers must introduce their children to solids between 4 and 6 months.

FALSE
Babies who were exclusively breastfed for 6 months had better gastrointestinal health, were not growth impaired, and did not experience any adverse affects to the delay in introduction of solids.

http://www2.cochrane.org/reviews/en/ab003517.html

My Views:
I thought it was pretty common to wait for 6 months to introduce solids, but I am hearing from more and more people that they are being advised to start at 4 months.  My experience is that at 4 months, most babies spit most of it back out anyway! 🙂  I’ve waited until 6 months with all of mine and they’ve all been perfectly healthy.  In fact, my daughter hated purees and hardly ate any solids until she could feed herself at around 9 months.  She’s a great eater now, at age 2.  I’ve heard of kids with allergies who were uninterested in eating solids for up to a year.  I think that going by baby’s cues is a better way to decide than judging by months, but I hope these studies will help encourage moms to wait until babies are ready to eat!